The Way Up to Heaven

by Roald Dahl

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How does Mr. Forster make his wife anxious in "The Way Up to Heaven"?

Quick answer:

Mrs. Forster's husband makes her feel anxious the next day by again delaying her trip to the airport. He insists he must be dropped at his club, even though it is in the wrong direction, he goes back to the house for cigars, and he says he can't find a gift he has deliberately wedged in a crack in the seats.

Expert Answers

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Mrs. Forster has a great deal of anxiety about being late. Her husband is always sadistically playing on this by deliberately doing things to make them late for events and appointments. On the first morning in question, Mr. Forster insists on accompanying his wife to the airport for her long-awaited trip to Paris to see her children and the grandchildren she has never met. He finds all sorts of reasons to delay them, but her flight is delayed anyway—so long that she has to come home again.

On the second day, Mrs. Forster's husband makes her anxious by delaying her once again. He insists he must be dropped at his club, even though it is in the wrong direction. He also goes back to the house for cigars. Just as they are ready to finally leave, her husband causes a delay by demanding she take a present for Ellen that he can't find at the moment. He looks all over the car for it, then says he has to go back in the house for it. Mrs. Forster asks him to simply mail it, but he has to do this his way.

After he has gone inside, she finds the gift wedged down in a "crack" in the seat on his side of the car in a way that suggests Mr. Forster deliberately pushed it there so he could pretend he had lost it. Mrs. Forster realizes that her husband is deliberately playing with her, trying to make her miss the flight, even though he knows how much she wants to take this trip.

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