- Roald Dahl
Summary of The Wish by Roald Dahl
The story presents a boy’s exciting mind game. On the carpet in his house, he imagines red parts as hot coals, black parts as snakes and yellow areas as safe. He motivates himself with a puppy as the prize if he can safely go across. He steps carefully on the yellows trying not to fall on the reds and blacks. Big gaps at places make his job more difficult. At last, he loses control. His hand falls on a black part. He cries as if the snake will bite him.
Theme of The Wish by Roald Dahl
The story suggests self-motivation and self-confidence in children to overcome fear. The writer shows the need to develop imagination. We also learn to test our abilities by doing a challenging job and honestly trying to complete it.
Understanding the text
Answer the following the questions.
a. What did the child do to the scab on his knee?
Ans: The child began to explore cautiously around the edges of the scab. He got
a nail underneath it, and when he raised it, but ever so slightly, it suddenly came off, the whole hard brown scab came off beautifully, leaving an interesting little circle of smooth red skin.
b. What kind of effect did the carpet have on the child?
c. What was he afraid of while walking across the carpet?
d. What motivated and encouraged the child to start and continue on his journey?
e. What did the child see as he looked down on the black patterns of the carpet?
Reference to the context
a. The writer creates two voices in the story. Who are they?
b. Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.
“…the black parts are snakes, poisonous snakes, adders mostly, and cobras, thick
like tree-trunks round the middle, and if I touch one of them, I’ll be bitten and I’ll
die before tea time. And if I get across safely, without being burnt and without
being bitten, I will be given a puppy for my birthday tomorrow.”
i. What does ‘the black part’ mean?
ii. Who is the speaker?
iii. Why doesn’t the speaker want to be burnt?
c. Which images and metaphors are used in the story?
d. Summarise the short story “The Wish” in about 200 words.
e. The story shows the events through the eyes of the narrator and the child.
Comparing the two styles, who presents more interesting or effective view for
the readers? Why?
f. Is “The Wish” a story about self-confidence overcoming fear or about greed?
Give your arguments.
Reference beyond the text
a. Do you think our wish can be fulfilled? Why or why not?
b. Why do you think some people might have a frightening nature? What would
you suggest to them to overcome it?
c. Write a folktale that you have heard or read
What kind of effect did the carpet have on the child?
As the boy looked carefully at the carpet, the different colours on it gave him the chance of an exciting game. He imagines the black parts as poisonous snakes, red parts as hot coal and the yellow areas as safe.
What motivated and encouraged the child to start and continue on his journey?
The child’s main motivation was an imaginary puppy as his birthday gift. A recent success of a walk also encouraged him to start the journey. And he continued although some places on the carpet were hard to cross.
The writer creates two voices in the story. Who are they?
The story has two voices. the narrator’s voice tells about the situation and describes the boy and place. The boy’s voice gives us information about all his fears and plans related to his exciting journey across the carpet.
Is “The Wish” a story about self-confidence overcoming fear or about greed?
The story is mainly about self-confidence children need to overcome fear. A child can test his abilities by doing a challenging job. And he must be honest like our boy. In this way, this skill will be developed.
The focus of the story is not on greed. The boy is not actually greedy to get the puppy for his birthday. He is just motivating himself with this prize. His main aim is to step on the safe yellow parts and avoid the dangerous black and red parts. His practice is like solving puzzles.