ChapterTelevision by Roald Dahl

The poem Television by Roald Dahl is a detailed analysis of the negative effects of TV sets on children and the need for them to be replaced with books. All you need to know and learn about this chapter is given below.

Meet the Author

  • Roald Dahl is a British novelist, poet and screenwriter.
  • Born: 13 September 1916
  • Place of Birth: UK
  • Died: 23 November 1990
  • Best Known for: Roald Dahl is known for his children’s fiction. The most popular one being “Charlie in the Chocolate FActory”. He was more than a writer. He was also a spy, a chocolate historian and medical inventor.
Classic television
Classic television

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Summary of the Chapter

Through the poem “Television” the poet is trying to let the readers know about the importance of reading and the need to stay away from this entertainment box that will eventually leave us dead from inside.

The poet strongly establishes his take on television in the first stanza itself. He calls the television an “idiotic thing”. Through the poem he is addressing the elders. He wants them to take a conscious decision of not exposing the kids and their minds to television.

... NEVER, NEVER, let
Them near your television set

He reminds the elders that in most homes these kids gasp around the television. They keep looking at this box until their eyes pop out. He continues to say that the television hypnotizes the kids so much so that they cannot take their eyes off the screen.

They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.

Dahl then reasons out why parents are putting their kids in front of the television sets. It seems to keep the kids calm and settled. The television and its moving pictures will stop them from crying. Kids do not climb out of the window sill if they are addicted to this box. But then he reminds the parents about the negative effect of watching television on kids.

  • It kills their senses
  • It kills their imagination
  • They can no longer understand a fairy tale or a fantasy.
  • Their brains become soft like cheese.
  • They no longer think

The poet puts forth his observations on the impact of television on children’s creativity and thinking on point. The television does not offer children any space for logical thinking or problem solving. This in fact will affect their mental growth and imagination.

In this stanza the poet writes everything in capital letters. This is to amplify his message and its significance.


He then again confronts the parents and puts forth their possible excuse for making kids watch the television.

But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!

Poet has the right answer for parents' worries. Like the previous generation, he wants them to introduce books to their children. Reading is what a kid must do in this tender age as it promotes and enhances logical, imaginative and thinking skills and abilities.


Each book offered a new world to the children. It taught them and showed the worlds of queens, whales, gypsies, dragons, distant shores and treasure islands.

These books helped them understand the world beyond their home.

Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!

The poet goes on to beg the parents to remove the TV set from their homes and install a bookshelf instead. He reminds them that it might take a few weeks for the kids to adjust to this new system but they will soon find their way to the books. Once they start reading then there is no looking back.

And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

These books will fill their hearts and recreate imagination in their minds. Later each kid will thank you for doing this for them. They will wonder why they even saw the ridiculous television screen.

And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

Some of Roald Dahl books
Some of Roald Dahl books

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Television by Roald Dahl Questions and Answers

Below are a few questions that you can look out for your examinations and class tests. Stand out with perfectly written answers with help of Aneetta Class.

Poet finds the television screens to distort and destroy the imaginative and thinking ability in young minds. TV sets kill the senses and the ability to wonder and have a creative mind. By watching the idiot box the kids will reach a position where they no longer can understand a fantasy or a fairytale. Poets also believe that their brains would be as soft as a cheese without any thinking or logical reasoning. These are the demerits of television according to the poet.

Yes, TV sets are bound to destroy the creative minds. Hence replacing the TV with a bookshelf is reasonable. This drastic change might take a toll on the kids. However, a slow process of attracting kids to the magical world of books will definitely help this transition. This change is certainly required.

The message and observations by the poet is for both parents and children. It concerns the parents as much as it concerns the children. Both of them should take inspiration from the poet's words and do the needful.