Friday, July 26, 2019

Dahl Study: Genesis and Catastrophe

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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"Genesis and Catastrophe" from Collected Stories (read 7/5/19)

This story is pretty excellent. There's a great twist... but it's not really a twist because it's a fictional interpretation of real life events, so if you know history and obscure facts about political leaders, you might already know the story based on context clues.

A woman is worried about her new baby, because she has lost her three other young children in the past 18 months. The doctor assures her that the baby is fine, healthy, a bit small, but will make it. The mother can't look, she keeps talking about her other children and how they died. (It's here that history buffs might make the connection - the mother is named, and names the other children that have died.) The doctor then calls the mother by her full name, which I won't say here because it's a pretty good twist. She then gives the baby his famous names, and prays for him to live, and it's so deliciously ironic!

"Genesis and Catastrophe" from Tales of the Unexpected (viewed 7/12/19)

This episode had a lot more to it than the story, but it didn't necessarily add to it. It made it more interesting for TV, I suppose, but that's about it. It starts with a young boy running to tell the father that his baby is being born, but the man won't go to his wife. He doesn't want another dead baby. Much of the episode is the same as the story, but with a lot more from the man's point of view. He wasn't much of a sympathetic character in the story, but he is in the show. I don't think the twist packed as much of a punch as in the written story, either, so definitely read the story first.

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