What is the setting in "The Umbrella Man" by Roald Dahl?

Expert Answers info

M.P. Ossa, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer, ESL/TEFL Instructor

bookM.A. from Chapman University

calendarEducator since 2008

write5,667 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

The setting of Roald Dahl's short story "The Umbrella Man" is the city of London. The narrator, a 12-year-old girl, explains that she was there with her mother to see the dentist. 

Yesterday afternoon, my mother took me up to London to see the dentist. 

The exact setting of the story, as it happens according to what the girl explains, is right outside the café that the girl and her mother visit after going to the dentist. It is around six o'clock by the time they are done in the café, and they needed a taxi to take them home. It is raining, and the girl and her mother are standing on the pavement, waiting for the taxi under the rain. It is this specific setting that prompts a man who is nearby, and holding an umbrella, to go to the girl and her mother. He is a "well-dressed" man, also described by the narrator as "well-mannered," small, and around seventy years old.

According to the story, the man approaches the mother carefully, and politely asks if he could trade his umbrella, worth 20 pounds, for a one pound note. He claims that he lost his wallet but he needs a taxi ride home. His knees are weak, due to old age, and the one pound note would cover his cab fare. The girl and her mother were "soaking to the skin" in the rain, so the trade actually would make sense. 

After trading the umbrella for the one-pound note, the girl and mother witness how the man takes off hurriedly down the street, showing no sign of old age or weakness, and ends up in a pub. At the pub, he pays for a "treble," or a triple amount, of whisky. After drinking it,...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 583 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial