Television

Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot. His books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide.


His poem ‘Television’ takes a comic look at the serious problem that these television sets pose to the young generation. He seems to believe that young people need to experience life in order to live fully and thrive.
At the time when he wrote the poem, he felt that watching television was going to turn the young generation into zombies, who had absolutely no sense of imagination and creativity. They, in his estimation, were reduced to being the consumer of ideas, rather than being the inventor.


The poet says that the most important thing that people have learnt about children is that they must never be let near televisions. In fact he feels the best thing would be not to install the idiotic thing at all. He says that in almost every house he has been to, he has seen children staring at the television with open mouth, as if they were hypnotized by it.
Children lie around lazily gazing at the television, entranced by the content in it. Moreover, this content is not even educative; it is just rubbish, something that would serve no purpose for these children. He indulges in a bit of exaggeration which is nonetheless amusing when he says once he saw a dozen eyeballs on the ground when he went to someone’s place.
Later on he describes the possible reasons for the parents’ approval of this ghastly affair. He says that they let the children sit idly in front of the television because it keeps the children from disturbing them from doing their household chores.
He finally pleads with the parents to throw their television sets away and set up a bookshelf in its place.  He hankers for the old days when life was simpler and men could enjoy little pleasures.

 

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  • Q1

    So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,

    Go throw your TV set away,

    And in its place you can install

    A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

    Then fill the shelves with lots of books,

    Ignoring all the dirty looks,

    The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,

    And children hitting you with sticks–

    Q1. What does he pleads with the parents to do?

    Q2. Whose ‘dirty looks’ are referred to here?

    Q3. What does Dahl wish for children?

    Q4. What are Dahl’s views on books?

    Q5. Do you agree with poet says? Why/ why not?

    Marks:16
    Answer:

    1. The speaker implores the parents to throw their television sets away and set up a bookshelf in its place.
    2. Children’s ‘dirty looks’ are referred to here. The poet says that he knows that children will not like the fact that their television sets would be removed.
    3. He hankers for the old days when life was simpler and men could enjoy little pleasures. Earlier children’s rooms were cluttered with books that had the most amazing and wondrous tales.
    4. Dahl believes that habit of reading is every essential for children and their cognitive and intellectual growth.
    5. No, we do not completely agree with what the poet says. Controlled Television can be more beneficial than harmful.

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  • Q2

    They sit and stare and stare and sit

    Until they're hypnotised by it,

    Until they're absolutely drunk

    With all that shocking ghastly junk.

    Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,

    They don't climb out the window sill,

    They never fight or kick or punch,

    They leave you free to cook the lunch

    And wash the dishes in the sink –

    Q1. Why do parents allow their children to watch television?

    Q2. According to the speaker, what happens to children’s minds when they watch television?

    Q3. What does the speaker fear will happen to children who become television addicts?

    Q4. How does watching television make children dull?

    Q5. Explain the phrase “that shocking ghastly junk”.

    Marks:16
    Answer:

    1. He says that the parents let their children sit idly in front of the television because it keeps the children from disturbing them while they are doing their household chores.
    2. The speaker says that watching television kills children’s imagination and clogs their minds with rubbish and nonsense.
    3. The speaker says that watching too much television kills their imagination and clogs their minds with rubbish and nonsense. Watching television makes their brain unimaginative and incapable of thinking. Their cognitive and intellectual abilities are superseded by their ability to see. They are reduced to being the consumer of ideas, rather than being the inventor.
    4. The poet says that watching television makes their brain unimaginative and incapable of thinking. Their cognitive and intellectual abilities are superseded by their ability to see. They are reduced to being the consumers of ideas, rather than being the inventors.
    5. The poet says that children lie around lazily gazing at the television, entranced by the content in it. Moreover, this content is not even educative; it is just rubbish, something that would serve no purpose for these children.

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  • Q3

    The most important thing we've learned,

    So far as children are concerned,

    Is never, NEVER, NEVER let

    Them near your television set --

    Or better still, just don't install

    The idiotic thing at all.

    1. What is the lesson the speaker has learnt after observing today’s children?

    2. How does the speaker describe children who watch
    television?

    3. What is the ‘idiotic thing’? Why is it called so?

    4. What is the advice of the poet?

    5. Is the poem relevant today?

    Marks:16
    Answer:

    1. The poet says that the most important thing that he has learnt about children is that they must never be let near televisions. In fact he feels the best thing would be not to install the idiotic thing at all.

    2. He says that he has seen children staring at the television with open mouth, as if they were hypnotized by it. They lie around lazily gazing at the television, entranced by the rubbish content in it.

    3. Television has been called an ‘idiotic thing’. The writer feels that it makes the children dull and kills their imagination dead.

    4. The poet asks the parents to never install a television set in their homes as it ruins a child’s ability to think and be creative.

    5. Even as modern readers, equipped with I pads and internet, we understand the importance book hold in our lives. They relieve us of oblivion and enlighten our minds.

    View Answer