Roald Dahl'S Essay

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I did recall the “lucky break” of the title: the famous writer C. Forester has sought out the young Dahl, who has only lately returned from World War Two.

Up to this point, Dahl hasn’t published anything – has had, if we’re to believe him, “no thoughts of becoming a writer.” Forester, for his part, is after fodder; he’s looking to convert somebody’s war-time experience into magazine content. I still buy Dahl’s account of how he stumbled into writing.

But when Forester gets back to him by letter, Dahl discovers the material he supplied the famous writer was no good, which is to say too good. (This was the son of Morley Callaghan, who knows from lucky breaks; he lives in a house in Rosedale, one of Toronto’s most affluent neighbourhoods.) Even as a kid, I sensed that the young Dahl had sensed an opportunity.

“You were meant to give me notes,” writes Forester, “not a finished story. “Just for fun, when it was finished, I gave it a title,” he says of the “notes” he whipped up for Forester.

Here was the Ur-text in which Dahl had trapped the fleeting, one-to-two sentence ideas for his books and stories, which might have disappeared altogether had he not pinned them to a page.

Ideas for books and stories did that, apparently – they sprang away.

But Kipling Station marked the furthest west stop on the line.

And anyway, subways were for Saturdays with the family.

The pursuit of happiness was a common theme found in these stories. How did religion filter into some of these stories, and what did it symbolize in these different appearances?

What stories embodied this theme, and how did that pursuit affect the characters involved? Despair was an emotion that affected a number of the characters in these stories.


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