Roald Dahl Essay Questions

Essay Topic 1

The pursuit of happiness was a common theme found in these stories. What stories embodied this theme, and how did that pursuit affect the characters involved?

Essay Topic 2

There are a number of husband and wife relationships written about in these stories. Choose some of these to compare and contrast. How are they different? How are they similar?

Essay Topic 3

How did religion filter into some of these stories, and what did it symbolize in these different appearances?

Essay Topic 4

Despair was an emotion that affected a number of the characters in these stories. Which characters were most affected by despair, and how did this change the course of the plots they were involved in?

Essay Topic 5

Compassion and empathy are themes present in a number of these stories. What are some of the best examples of these themes, and how did the presence of these...

(read more Essay Topics)

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In June 2000 I received an email from Andrew Ferguson, a final year teaching student in Drama and English at the University of NSW, Sydney, Australia. Andrew used my site in part of his teacher training and sought to repay the favor by sending me the extensive unit he prepared on Boy. I’ll let him explain it to you:

“The task was to create a 4 week block, 5 lessons per week, 50 mins per lesson unit of work. In addition to the unit I had to provide 5 detailed lesson plans, and a resource folder containing 3-5 items related to those lesson plans (here they are the assignment criteria, the autobiography scaffold and the Matilda and Boy comparative question). In addition there is a condensed version of the first lesson, presented as a 20 minute microteaching spiel. The class it is addressed to is a year 8, mixed gender, mixed ability group.

I apologise for the format of the unit plan. I myself see it as almost impossible to follow, and it is with a little difficulty that someone can see how it may be broken into the 20 desired lessons, however that is how they asked for it, so that is how they get it!”


Since Andrew provided me with SO MUCH material, I’ve just decided to offer it as is. These files are all Microsoft Word documents. To save them to your computer, right-click on the link and select “Save As…” (If you can’t get them to open and you desperately need them, let me know and I’ll cut-and-paste the text to you.)

Unit of Instruction (25KB)
As near as I can tell, the Unit of Instruction discusses all the aims and goals of the unit and spells out exactly which lesson plans cover which topics.

Lesson Plans (49KB)
This document details all the lesson plans and activities and how much time should be allotted for each.

Assignment (283KB)
An in-depth assignment that involves various writing exercises based on issues raised in “Boy.”

Autobiographical Scaffold (20KB)
This is a framework that students can use to start writing their own autobiographies.

Comparative Question (20KB)
A long quotation from “Matilda” and a question that asks students to compare Dahl’s description of the Trunchbull to descriptions of his own schoolteachers.

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