What are the ill-effects of watching excessive television as the poet suggests in the poem “Television” by Roald Dalh.
Or, How does television corrupt / affect a child’s mind?
Roald Dahl in his poem “Television” warns the parents against the harmful effects of television addiction on the children. The poet-speaker asks the parents whether they ever spent a moment to think exactly what harm this television does to their loving child. Then he himself answers it in a brilliant way.
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
According to the poet, watching television regularly damages the sense in the head. Children are drawn away from the reality, the real world around him. He just believes what he watches, without considering the context. His own environment hardly matches with the ones he sees on screen, but still he thinks all that are real and applicable to him.
It also kills the power of imagination in the mind. Children start to live in a pre-set imaginary world that they see on the screen. They slowly lose their own creative thinking, their own imagination. Though what TV shows display are mostly fictional, that is a close imitation of the real world, not a completely different world as in a fairy tale.
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
Roald Dahl continues to argue on how television affects a child’s mind. Children watch different shows on different channels. Sometimes there are contradictory ideas. Sometimes, it does not match with reality and they are surprised. Thus these things clogs and clutters up the mind – messes up the organised ideas and thoughts.
Moreover, the child forgets to think on his own. His entire mind is full of the images he has seen on the TV. So how would he get the time and scope to think over other things? His important time is wasted in the thoughts that are fictional and not related to his own life. Thus his study and thoughts on how to improve his skills and personality are neglected. This is as if the child gradually becomes ‘dull and blind’.
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
The poet feels that due to the imposed limitation on thoughts, the children can no longer understand a fantasy or a fairy tale. They cannot extend their imaginative power to that level. They are now used to see an image of the likely real world – a virtual reality.
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK — HE ONLY SEES!
Dahl now opines that by watching television, the brain becomes soft like cheese. Children now believe everything they watch or hear on TV. They cannot find their own logic to analyse and interpret a thing. The power of thinking, the thought process freezes and gets rusty. They cannot think on their own. All they do is watching and believing what others say on TV.
Thus, emphasizing the ill-effects of excessive watching of television, the poet suggests a better alternative in the form of reading books.