Roald Dahl’s Stories for Adults

“I’ll bet you think you know this story. You don’t. The real one’s much more gory.” Roald Dahl wrote this about the tale of Cinderella in Revolting Rhymes, but it also applies to the stories he wrote for adults from 1944 to 1988. “Nobody in their right mind would want to be a character in a Roald Dahl short story,” writes Anthony Horowitz (2.x). This author of beloved children’s books was known as ‘the master of the macabre’ for the twisted imagination he reveals in stories abounding with cruelty, lust, madness, and murder.

In English 201 (Winter 2018) we will read twenty of those stories, and analyze them using the methods outlined in a supporting textbook.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Make original and persuasive arguments about literature.
  • Use a variety of interpretative strategies for analyzing literary texts, including close readings.
  • Organize a complex argument about a text with a clear thesis statement, focused topic sentences, and fully interpreted quotations.
  • Document their quotations using Modern Language Association (MLA) citation conventions.
  • Reflect critically on their reading and writing processes.


  • Roald Dahl, The Complete Short Stories, Volume 1 (1944-1953) and Volume 2 (1954-1988)
    Joanna Wolfe and Laura Wilder, Digging into Literature: Strategies for Reading, Analysis, and Writing

Course Outline

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