Friday, June 14, 2019

Dahl Study: Poison

My author study of Roald Dahl started with a reading of his Collected Stories while watching the accompanying episode of Tales of the Unexpected. Each Friday I'll recap a story and show (with spoilers, just so you know), but I encourage you to read and watch them on your own if you're interested!

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"Poison" from Collected Stories (read 1/11/19)

A man comes home and finds his roommate stuck in bed, unmoving, because of a venomous snake that crawled onto his stomach and fell asleep. The suspense is interesting and unique, with the ticking timebomb of the sleeping snake, being quiet and motionless to not wake him up, and trying to figure out what to do about the whole predicament. The man gets a knife ready so he can cut the bite and suck out the poison. He calls a doctor who brings a somewhat ineffective serum, but they try anyway. After using chloroform to keep the snake sleepy, they pull the sheet back and find nothing! It's implied that the roommate imagined it all, possibly due to PTSD. 

"Poison" from Tales of the Unexpected (viewed 6/4/19)

The episode was similar to the story, though I don't remember if the man brought a woman home. I don't think he did, because later in the episode she steals the doctor's car, and I don't recall that from the story. I think she was added into the episode to make it more dramatic. The bulk of the episode is the same as the story, with the added aspect of the woman hiding in the kitchen so the roommate and doctor don't see her and tarnish her reputation. After the sheet is pulled back and there's no snake, the doctor asks the man if the roommate might have imagined it all. When the doctor sees his car is gone, stolen by the woman brought home, he gets angry. The man tries to calm him down and says he knows where his car is, and that he'll take him there. After they leave, the roommate gets up and goes to the liquor cabinet. He wants something strong to take the edge off his anxiety from the snake. He reaches for a bottle and the snake coils around his wrist and bites him. He dies. I loved this ending so much more than the story, though I like being able to compare them both, because I think it makes the episode's twist stand out that much more.

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