Essay Poison By Dahl

"Poison" is a short story written by Roald Dahl that was originally published in June 1950 in Collier's. In 1950 it was adapted for the radio program Escape. In 1958 it was turned into an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, directed by Alfred Hitchcock himself.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

The story is set in India during the time of British rule. The main character is Harry Pope and the narrator of the story is Timber Woods. He goes over to his friend Harry Pope's house. Harry is in bed, motionless, sweating, and in a panic. He claims to have a snake (the poisonous krait) on his stomach, underneath the covers. He asks Timber to go get a doctor. He calls Dr. Ganderbai, a local Indian doctor who rushes over as soon as possible. Timber and Ganderbai frantically try to get the snake off of Harry through various methods (which include sedating the snake and giving Harry an antivenin) . As the story progresses, it is revealed that there is in fact no snake on Harry.

After the initial panic, Ganderbai tries to lighten the mood by making sarcastic comments and asking Harry if there actually was a snake. Harry, believing that Ganderbai is calling him a liar, proceeds to lay out multiple racial slurs. As Ganderbai walks out of the room, Timber thanks him for doing such a nice job and apologizes for Harry's behavior. Ganderbai's only reply is that the only thing Harry needs is a good vacation.[2]


In the story, Harry claimed that there was a krait on his stomach and when the doctor and Timber realized there was nothing, Harry became defensive and insulted the doctor. Harry claimed that the snake got on to his stomach when he was reading. He insisted that he saw the small krait that measured approximately ten inches. Timber suggested ways of getting to the krait without letting it harm Harry however, all his suggestions were risky to Harry. Harry suggested they call the doctor for help. Timber asked the Indian doctor to come to their house to help in dealing with the krait. The doctor arrived and first injected Harry with a serum before trying to sedate the krait that was supposedly under the bed sheet. On removing the bed sheet, they realized that there was nothing on Harry’s stomach. This prompted the doctor to express his doubts about Harry’s story. Harry became overly defensive and racially insulted the doctor.

‘Are you telling me I'm a liar?' he shouted. Ganderbai remained absolutely still, watching Harry. Harry took a pace forward on the bed and there was a shining look in his eyes. 'Why, you dirty little Hindu sewer rat!,

From the story, we learn that it is wrong to create a fuss over nothing and that one should own up to their mistakes.

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