Poison - Roald Dahl

Discussion Leader-
Discussion Questions:
1. How did they story make you feel?
2. What do you think the author's purpose was to write this story?
3. What did you think of this story? Did you like it? Did you not like it?
4. What literary term would you use to describe this story? Explain
5. What do you think the theme of this story is?

-Importance of the "snake"
-The Impact of the tricky ways
-Was the sister also messing with the doctor?

Recorder- At the beginning of our discussion the question of how we felt about the story and how we looked at what the story represented appeared constantly. For the most part, all of us truly enjoyed the story while there was some scatteredd and mixed opinions. The book club beleived that the authors purpose of writing Poison was to strictly entertain the reader and make them "hang on the edge of a cliff." in the words of Alec Fleshier. Everyone in the book club also thought this was a good story mainly because of the suspense. Alec liked it the most because of its massive use of imagrey that impacted the dramatic mood of the short story. There were two lit terms that constantly reappeared; these two being imagrey and hyperbole. Imagrey was obviously a very key ponit to the author that was used in every part of the story. Hyperbole however was different because of the concept that something can be completley blown out of proportion; when infact that "thing" isnt real at all. Finally to conclude this discussion we talked about how the theme effected the story, and what we thought the theme was. We all pitched in cumilative ideas; however, at the end the best suggestion was Kris's. He said that When a person is able to tell a story that he/she thinks might not be true, then they might as well just keep their mouth shut.

Literary Term Tracker A-
Antonio: The short story Poison by Roald Dahl has a few symbols and an interesting theme. The theme of this story is that a misusunderstanding can cause trouble for lots of people. In this story the theme is represented by a man, named Harry, who thinks that a poisonous snake has crawled on his stomach who has his friend Timber call a doctor for help to diffuse the situation. However after the time consuming process of trying to remove the snake they discover that there was no snake in the first place. This represents the theme by showing that if Harry had not made the misunderstanding that the snake was on his stomach then the time and worry that Timber and the Doctor went through could have been avoided. Roald Dahl shows the theme with symbols such as the constant sweating of Harry and the careful precision of the doctor. He uses Harries incescant sweating to show how serious he thinks the situation is by having Harry sweat more than the other men because he is afraid that he will be bitten. By having the doctor make all his actions with careful precision and by taking his time Roald Dahl is showing how serious the doctor takes the situation to be. All because Harry had a misunderstanding with his sheets.

Literary Term Tracker B-
  • Tone - Poison allows the reader a very intense feeling of emotion through out the story. By having characters sweating, breathing heavily, and cursing, Roald Dahl was able to convey the exact emotion and frightfulness in his writing.
  • Imagery - Through the story Mr. Dahl takes time to describe the exact way things look, and the physical touch, smell, and taste, of all elements of the story. Examples of this can be read in parts of the story that talk about the pajamas, the chloroform, and the tourniquet. However, details on the snake itself are left out.
  • Diction - The intensity of this story creates a language type of its own. It is easy to see that these men are living in India, and speak a form of English, from the way that words like 'bloody' and 'holiday' are used. The author's choice of words allow the reader to see that these are two educated men who care about each other. The diction of this story also allows the reader to see Harry's feelings toward the doctor, after the flaming racial slurs.


Alec: My favorite quote can be found on page 3 of the story packet. "I could see the blue vein on the inside of Harry's forearm, swollen now because of the tourniquet, and then I saw the needle above the vein, Ganderbai holding the syringe almost flat against the arm, sliding the needle in sideways through the skin into the blue vein, sliding it slowly but so firmly it went in smooth as into cheese" (Dahl 3). I really like this quote because it demonstrates the type of imagery that is portrayed through out the whole story. The author describes every possible movement of the needle and vein, but also throws a simile into the explanation. Roald Dahl's deep explanations, and sense of imagery allows the reader to paint a vivid picture of this incident in their mind.

Antonio: My favorite qoute from this story is on page 4. "Then why for God's sake dont't you look and see!" (Dahl 4). This quote shows the intense atmosphere that the author is trying to create in the setting. It shows the clashing tempers and the strain that the situation is having on the characters and how they are reacting to each others actions. Overall this quote is a good example of the atmosphere of the story.

Conner: It is the same for me as it is for Antonio. My favorite quote would be on page 4 when it says "Then why for God's sake don't you look and see!" (Dahl 4) I think that with this quote that there is an incredible mood that is implied in the story. Throughout the story the is a constant theme of the very dramatic and very descriptive. With this quote, the reader is able to see the very intense and somewhat scary mood that the story represents.

Kris: My favorite quote is "Are you telling me I'm a liar? (Dahl 5), I like this quote because once this quote was said the suspense is basically all over and the reader finally knows the whole problem. Also, i felt i could breathe again that everything was ok.