Television Summary and Important Questions

Study Material

Students can refer to the Television Summary Treasure Trove ICSE Class 10 which has been prepared for ICSE Class 10 English Students based on the latest syllabus and examination guidelines issued by ICSE. Students are requested to read and download these study notes for each chapter and topic and use them for understanding each important topic and also practice questions to get better marks in exams. You can also refer to the ICSE Class 10 Engish book for more details and after going through the summary trying solving ICSE Class 10 English Sample Papers

ICSE Class 10 Television Summary

Students should refer to the summary provided below for Television, this is an important chapter in ICSE Class 10 English book. You can refer to all Treasure Trove Poem Summary provided on our website. These have been prepared based on the latest books and syllabus issued by ICSE.

Television Summary Treasure Trove and Questions

The Poem:
‘Television’ is Roald Dahl’s one of the best-known and most thought-provoking poems. It is also a kind of didactic poem and has a message relevant to our times. It depicts the negative impact of television on the children. They become hypnotized by it and waste their valuable energy. The poet gives a suggestion, valuable and worth following. According to the poet, television is an idiot box and a bookshelf lovely and books an object of joy and happiness. The poet uses sarcastic tone while talking about television and in contrast, uses delightful and cheering tone while talking about books. Thus, tone and choice of words provide a didactic element in the poem.

The Poet:
Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916, to Norwegian parents. He studied in British school but never went to university. In place of studying further, he chose to work in Shell Oil Company and served as a fighter pilot in the British Air Force during World War.
After the war, he decided to take writing as a life time vocation. Mainly famous for children books, he also wrote for adults. It has been said about him that he was “one of the greatest storytellers for children of 20thcentury. He received the World Fantasy Award – Life Achievement in 1983.
His first book was A piece of Cake (1942). His first children book was The Germline (1943). Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG. The Twits and George’s Marvelous Medicine are considered the best loved children stories of 20th Century. He also became famous for his macabre adult stories. The mystery writers of America presented him with three Edgar Awards for his work. He died in November 1990 at the age of 74.

The Poem in Detail:
Lines 1 – 16:
The poet says that the most important thing they (along with other people) have learned that children should never be allowed near a television. It will be better if there is no television in the house. They have seen them (children) gaping at the screen. The (children) either sit, stand or lie in front of the television in an idle way and stare continuously at the screen till their eyes seem to pot out. It seems as if the poet has undertaken a long research on the evil effects of watching television by visiting many households in Britain. In almost every house, he has seen the children watching television in such a way as if they are hypnotized by it. They seem to be drunk with all the shocking junk shown on television.

Lines 17 – 34:
The poet says it is true that the children never do all those things which they used to do before the advent of this idiot box., like climbing on the windows, fighting, kicking each other and mothers are free to do their washing and cooking in peace. The poet asks them if they have over ever stopped to think what damage it is doing to their dear ones. It affects their brain it kills their imagination, it fills their mind with rubbish, it makes them dull and blind, not literally but in that sense that they cannot imagine or reflect beyond what they see on the screen. They cannot think, their brain is rusted.

Lines 35- 58:
When the mothers hear what the poet says they will cry, what the child can do for his entertainment, if he does not see the television. The answer is given by the poet by suggesting that they should read. Before the invention of this harmful object, that is, television, the children used to read and they had their world of fantasy and an active brain. What joy was there cannot even be imagined by today’s children, unless they experience it.

Lines 46 – 58:
The poet reminds the parents that before the advent of television, there were books and the children used to read and only road. Books were everywhere. The poet gives a short list of the books children used to read before the advent of television. Those books were filled with tales of treasure islands, voyages, smugglers, pirates, ships, elephants and cannibals.

Lines 59 – 70:
The poet here refers to typical stories that children used to read in his days. The kids used to read tales about Mr. Tod, Squirrel, Nutkin, Piglin Bland and Mr. Tiggy Winkly written by Beatrix Potter. Potter’s books were known for the use of animals as characters and colorful illustrations.

Lines 71 – 83:
The poet sincerely appeals to the parents to throw away their TV sets and replace them with book shelves. The poet’s genuine concern for the children is reflected in his use of such words as please, beg and pray. No doubt, the children will be very angry, throw tantrums in protest but ignoring their protests and tantrums. They should fill those shelves with books. He believes that sooner or later, the children will gradually come towards those books shelves and feel the need to read the books as they won’t have anything else for their entertainment.

Lines 84 – 93:
These lines express the poet’s firm belief that once children start reading, it would fill their hearts with joy. They would be so much interested in books that they would wonder why they had ever been interested in that vulgar boring ridiculous machine known as television and each day will bring them closer to their parents who made that possible by replacing television with book shelves.

The theme of the poem is related to television its evil effects on children and remedy to save the children from this evil. The poet calls television an idiot box and according to him the television is a monster that hypnotizes the children and fills their mind with junk. They become passive because there is no activity, they just sit at one place and go on staring at the TV screen. The only remedy is that the parents should remove the TV sets from their homes and encourage their children to read books. In the beginning, they won’t like it but later, in the absence of TV they will gradually begin to pay attention to books and this will help in their overall development.

Literary Devices:
i. The poem Television by Roald Dahl is a long poem having ninety-three lines. The poem follows a rhythmic pattern and has a rhyme scheme of aa, bb, cc.

ii. This poet has made use of repetition, which is the purposeful use of words and phrases to create emphasis. For example:

(i) “They sit and stare and stare and sit”.

(ii) They ……. used ……. to read!

iii. Personification: It is the practice of representing an idea as a person. For example:
‘It kills the imagination’, as if television is an animate object.

iv. Hyperbole: It is a figure of speech, which uses exaggeration for producing effect:
Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.

v. The poet has used these literary devices to impress upon the readers the ill effects of television on the minds of children. He calls the television the ‘idiot box’. He uses transferred epithet to emphasise his point.

Dahl was perhaps ahead of his time, when he predicted the evil effects of television. That is, the death of imagination in children’s minds. As a children’s author, he must have known more than others how the children’s faces and minds react to a good book, and how dull and motionless they become while watching TV shows. This poem is about the children but its message is for the parents who, in his opinion and as per his advice should act and throw away their TV sets replacing them with books.

The tone of this poem is light, amusing and entertaining but the message is not. His message is crystal clear to save the children from the ill effects of TV screen and make them mentally healthy and lively.

Idiotic things: refers to what is being telecast on television. Gaping – watching with eyes wide open, loll – sit, lie or act in a lazy manner, hypnotized – influences on a great extent in a powerful and mysterious way. Ghastly – shocking, horrible. rots – decays. clutters – fills something with an untidy collection of things. Fantasy – an idea for removed from realty. Gadzooks – an exclamation of surprise or shock. Galore – in large numbers. Cannibals – persons who eat the flesh of human beings. Beatrice Potter – An English writer, illustrator and natural scientist, best known for her children’s books. Rump – the hind part of the body of a mammal. Rotter – a cruel, mean or unkind person.

(1) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
      The most important thing we have learned,
       so far as children are concerned,
       Is never, Never, Never let,
       Them near your television set,
       Or better still, just don’t install
      The idiotic thing at all.
       In almost every house we have been,
      We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
      They loll and slop and lounge about,
      And stare until their eyes pop out,
      (Last week in someone’s place we saw
       A dozen eyeballs on the floor)
      They sit and stare, stare and sit,
      Until they are hypnotized by it,
      Until they are absolutely drunk
      With all that shocking ghastly junk.

1. What is the most important thing that the poet has learned?
A1. The most important thing that the poet has learned i.e. that the children should not be allowed to see the television programmes. Better still, if there is no television in the house.

2. What is referred to as ‘idiotic thing’ in the above extract? Why do you think the poet advises not to install it?
A2. Television is here referred to as ‘idiotic thing’. The poet advises not to install it, because if there is television installed in the house, it will be impossible to ban it totally for the children. They will find a way to discard the parents’ admonition not to see it.

3. Describe what the poet sees at every house with television. Why is he upset with what he has seen?
A3. Whenever the poet has visited a house with television, he has seen children staring at it. All their attention seems to be absorbed in seeing television’s useless programmes. The poet is upset at this situation because of the damage and harm done to the children’s overall development.

4. Explain the figure of speech used in the lines:
(Last week in someone’s place we saw A dozen eyeballs on the balls)
A4. Here, the figure of speech Hyperbole is used. Hyperbole is the figure of speech where, there is exaggeration of a certain object or situation. In the above lines, the poet says he saw in someone’s house, a dozen eyeballs on the floor. There were six children lounging on the floor gaping at the TV screen. It was the exaggeration of the scene.

5. What type of rhyming scene is followed in this extract?
A5. The rhyming scheme followed in this extract is aa bb cc.

(2) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
       Oh yes, we know it keeps them still
       They don’t climb out the window sill,
        They never fight or kick or punch,
       They leave you free to cook the lunch,
       And wash the dishes in the sink –
       But did you ever stop to think,
       To wonder just exactly what
       This does to your beloved tot?
       It Rots the sense in The Head
       It kills Imagination Dead
       It Clogs And Clutters Up The Mind
       It Makes A Child So Dull And Blind
       He Can No Longer Understand
        A Fantasy, A Fairyland
        His Brain Becomes As soft As cheese
       His Powers of Thinking Rust And Freeze
       He cannot Think – He Only Sees.

1. The poet says, ‘it keeps them still’? What keeps the children still? How?
A1. The programmes on TV screen keep the children still. They are so hypnotized by the programmes shown on various TV Channels, that they just keep staring at the screen and in this way the television keeps them still.

2. How does Television prove to be useful and convenient for the parents?
A2. Because of television, children do not go to play or flight with each other or do some activity like climbing on the window sill which is noisy and distracts their parents’ attention and disturbs their work. The parents can conveniently and peacefully continue the activities of their household if the children and busy watching television.

3. What ill effects does TV have on children according to the poet?
A3. Watching television, according to the poet, is not good for the children’s young and immature minds. It kills their imagination, blocks their minds and makes them dull and inactive.

4. How does Television kill the children’s imagination? Name the figure of speech used here.
A4. The figure of speech personification is used here. The poet gives television the human ability to kill something.
According to the poet, the television programs influence so much the young minds of the children that they become inept or are unable to imagine anything away from what they see in those programs. Their own ability to think or imagine is ruined.

5. Do you think Dahl is critical of television in the lines above? Give reasons for your answer.
A5. Yes, Dahl is very much critical of television in the above lines. He feels that television is destroying the natural ability of the children, killing their power of imagination making them dull and passive. In his opinion, the television fills children’s minds with useless thoughts and ideas and blocks them with meaningless matters.

(3) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
      We’ll answer this by ask you,
      ‘What used the darlings once to do?’
       How used they keep themselves contented
       Before this monster was invented?
       Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
       We’ll say it very loud and slow.
       THEY…..USED……TO …..READ, and then proceed
        To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
        One half their lives was reading books!
        The nursery shelves held books galore!
         Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
         And in the bedroom, by the bed
          More books were waiting to be read.

1. Whose and what questions the poet is answering in the above extract? What does he say in his answer?
A1. The parents and specially mothers are asking the poet what their children will have as entertainment if the television set is taken away from the house. The poet in reply to them says if TV set is taken away, it can be replaced with shelves filled with books which will be a far better entertainment for the children.

2. What the children used to do before the television was invented?
A2. According to the poet, the children used to read before the invention of television.

3. Why are some words in capital letters while others are printed in small letters?
A3. Some words like ‘Read And Read’ and others are printed in capital letters to lay emphasis on the importance of reading books by the children.

4. Comment on the visual imagery in the last four lines of the extract.
A4. Visual imagery stimulates the sense of sight. Books described to be lying everywhere in the room present the picture of a room filled with books ready to be enjoyed.

5. What should the parents do to keep the children occupied?
A5. The parents should encourage the children to read and read books. With their patience, the parents can inspire the children to be interested in reading books and gradually the children will begin to enjoy reading books.

(4) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
      The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
      With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
      And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
      And Mrs. Tiggy – Winkle and
      Just how the camel got His Hump,
      And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
      And Mr. Toad and Bless my soul,
      There is Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole –
      Oh, books, what books they used to know,
      Those children living long ago!
      So please, Oh please, we beg, we pray,
      go throw your TV set away
      And in its place you can install
      A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

1. Which figure of speech is used in, ‘The younger ones had Beatrix Potter? What is the rhyming scheme in the extract?
A1. The figure of speech used in ‘The younger ones had Beatrix Potter’ is synecdoche. Here the name of author has been used to represent the whole lot of her books.
The rhyming scheme in this extract is aa, bb, cc.

2. Give the significance of the lines:
Oh, books, what books they used to know
Those children living long ago.
A2. The above two lines reflect the yearning of the poet for those vanished, long gone days when children used to read books and it was a healthy entertainment which encouraged the creativity of the children. It was not cheap one presented by TV programs and seen by children today.

3. Which animal characters does Dahl mention?
A3. Dahl mentions animal characters from the books of Beatrix Potter who is another writer of books for the children.

4. To whom does Dahl pay a tribute?
A4. Dahl pays a tribute to Beatrix Potter who is another writer of children’s books.

5. According to the poet, what should be done to save children from being hypnotized by TV. State whether this suggestion is practical?
A5. The suggestion of the poet for the parents to throw away their TV set is very good, and although to follow it not impossible but also not practical. Not only children, but their parents also want to watch TV programmers. Moreover, there may be personal, social or other problems which they must fact. It is a source of their recreation also. Only if they have great will power, it is possible and no doubt if it is done, it will be a boon in disguise for the children.

(5) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
      Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
      Ignoring all the dirty looks,
      The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
      And children hitting you with slicks
      Fear not because we promise you
      That, in about a week or two
      of having nothing else to do,
      They’ll now begin to feel the need
      of having something to read

1. The poet says, “Then fill the shelves with lots of books”, why did he give this advice to the parents?
A1. Children are filled with natural energy. They must have something to do. If they won’t have television, after some days they will want to do something else. That’s why, the poet gives this advice to the parents.

2. What will the children do when parents throw away the TV?
A2. Children will be very angry. They will shout, kick and scream and throw tantrums. They may also hit their parents with sticks.

3. Despite children screaming and yelling, the parents are advised ‘not to fear’. Why?
A3. The poet knows that after some time, without TV to entertain the children they will be bored and will want to do something. Them, they will look up to books and start reading them.

4. It is important to instill in children the need to read books. Why?
A4. It is very important to instill in children the habit to read books and the need to read books because it benefits them in many ways. It is a healthy habit and source of recreations. It broadens the mind, entertains and it fosters imagination and creativity in children which are vital to children’s growth and development.

(6) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
     And once they start ohing Boy, oh Boy!
     You watch the slowly growing joy,
     That fills their hearts.
     They will grow so keen
     They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
     In that ridiculous machine
     That nauseating, foul and unclean
     Repulsive television screen!
     And later each and every kid
     Will love you more for what you did.

1. What will ‘they start’? How does the poet feel about it? Which words tell you so?
A1. ‘They start’ refers to their starting of reading books. The poet feels happy, contented and overjoyed. The words ‘oh Boy! oh Boy! Tell us so.

2. According to the poet, reading books will fill children’s hearts with joy. Do you agree? Give a reason for your answer.
A2. Yes, reading books will fill children’s hearts with joy because books will take them to a new world, where they find children of their own age, animals and adventures. This will stimulate their imagination and it will make them happy.

3. Comment on the poet’s different use of language for television and the books.
A3. The poet uses an angry and sarcastic tone while talking about television and calling it ‘a shocking, ghastly junk’ etc. In contrast he uses an easy, delightful tone while talking about books. He calls book shelves lovely and associates ‘joy and happiness’ with reading books. Tone and choice of words clarify the poet’s view of books and television.

4. How according to the poet, can children benefit from reading books?
A4. According to the poet, the children can surely benefit from reading books. The books give them joy and make them happy. They make them imaginative and creative and improve their language and make their mind healthy.

5. Will the children thank their parents for installing book shelves? Why?
A5. Once the children discover the pleasure of reading books, they will surely thank their parents for installing book shelves and encouraging them to read books.

Television Summary Treasure Trove