The Concepts of Crime and Punishment in Roald Dahl Fiction

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The concepts of crime and punishment in the fiction of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is probably one of the most noted writers of his time. His style of writing has earned him quite a large following of readers. His books cater to all ages from children to adults. He is equally popular for his children’s books as he is for his short stories and novels for adults. One of the earliest works of Roald Dahl was “Shot Down To Libya” which was inspired by a meeting with C.S. Forester. It was the first of his works to be published. It is now published as “a piece of cake”.

In all his books, a pattern may be noticed. Most of his stories have a surprise ending. The concept of crime and punishment is almost essential is every story of his. Among his more than 60 short stories, a lot of them have themes of revenge. Like in “galloping Foxley”, the main character Perkins sees a familiar man on his daily 8:12 train. He quickly recognizes him as Foxley, an old school mate of his who was also a prefect in school. When they were in school Foxley used to mistreat Perkins. He had practically enslaved him. He decides to take revenge and goes up to the supposed Foxley and introduces himself and subsequently humiliates him in front of everybody in the train by reminding him of how he used to ill treat him in school. But this backfires on him when the man gives him a different name and school and turns out not to be the Foxley though it is suggested that the man is lying.

In another one of his short stories, “Nunc Demittis” also known as “ the devious bachelor”, the main character Lionel Lampson hears from an unreliable source that his younger girlfriend has been calling him a ‘crashing bore’ behind his back. Again here to take revenge, he hires artist John Roydon to make a painting of his girlfriend. Roydon’s unique style of painting involved him painting the subject at first nude and then adding the several layers of clothing one at a time. When the painting was...
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