“Television Poem” is a short and vivid poem by Roald Dahl that humorously highlights the power of television in capturing people’s attention and imagination. The poem is part of his collection “Revolting Rhymes,” published in 1982. Read More Class 11 English Summaries.
Television Poem Summary
This poem is an extract from Dahl’s Charlie and Chocolate Factory’. Here the poet describes in detail the damage that television is doing to little children. He says that this ridiculous invention has killed all the imaginative faculties of children.
It has made them dullards, and they have lost all the power to think. Parents feel helpless since they find no other means of entertainment for their children, which can keep them away from mischief. To this, the poet makes a very useful suggestion.
He says that before the television was invented, children entertained themselves through reading books which had in them very interesting stories. The poet suggests that instead of the television set, parents should get for their children interesting books to read, and thus save the little ones from becoming dull and blind.
Television Summary in English:
The poet calls the television an idiotic thing which serves no useful purpose. It makes one dull and stupid. So he suggests that children should in no case be allowed to go near a television set. In almost every house, children are found sitting lazily in front of a television set.
They keep staring at the television screen for hours. They remain hypnotised by all the ghastly junk that appears on the screen. Some parents do feel that the television is of not much use for kids, still they find at least one advantage of it. They say that it keeps the kids calm and quiet.
They don’t make any mess in the house. They don’t keep jumping in and out of the windows. They don’t indulge in fights. Their mothers can thus do their cooking and washing in peace. The poet asks such parents if they have ever realized what effect this addiction to television has on their little kids. He says that it makes the child a dullard.
It rots all sense in his head. It kills all his imagination. The child loses the ability to think. He becomes the proverbial ass. Some parents do agree that television is doing no good to children. They do want to take the television away from home.
But they find no other way to entertain their kids. At this, the poet wants parents to think of the children of former times, before the television was invented. He wants them to think what the children of those days did for their entertainment.
They would read and read and read. Just as the present-day children do nothing but watch television all the time, the children in earlier days did nothing but read and read and read. Reading was for them the biggest entertainment. They spent almost half of their time in reading books only. They had books and books on their nursery shelves.
They had books in their bedroom also. They had books by their bed. They read books before they went to sleep. Those books, specially written for children, had in them wonderful stories of dragons, gypsies, queens, whales, treasure isles, smugglers and sea robbers.
The poet calls upon the parents of today to throw away the TV set that they have in their homes. He wants them to install a lovely bookshelf in its place. He adds that they should fill the shelves with lots of books. It is possible that in the beginning, the children will cry and yell in protest, but parents should ignore all that.
The poet feels certain that in about a week or two, the children would get used to the reading of books. By and by, they would begin to find great entertainment in the reading of books.
The poet feels confident that once the children start reading books, they will slowly begin to enjoy them. They will begin to find in their hearts an ever-increasing joy.
They will then wonder what they had ever seen in that ridiculous screen. They will begin to look upon the television as a nauseating and repulsive thing. They will start loving their parents even more for getting them books to read.