The Umbrella Man – Roald Dahl

Introduction
‘The Umbrella Man’ is a popular short story written by Roald Dahl. He was a Welsh novelist, born on September 13, 1916, and died on November 23, 1990. He has written novels, short stories, and screenplays, as well as other types of stories. His books are good for both kids and adults. For more than sixty short stories, he’s written. In 1954, he was given the Edgar Award for his short story collection, “Someone Like You.”

In this story, there are three people: the mother, the girl, and a little man with an umbrella. The girl is the narrator in the storey. She talks about an event that happened to her and her mother. Interesting and funny, too. It shows the difference between how things look and how they really are.

Summary of The Umbrella Man

The story is a humorous incident told through the eyes of a twelve-year-old girl. The mother and daughter went to the dentist in London one day. They took a position on the sidewalk and began waiting for a taxi. At that precise moment, a man approached them. He pleaded for permission to speak with his mother. The small man was courteous, gentle, and pleasant in his demeanour. He’d left his wallet at home. He extended an invitation to the mother to take the umbrella he was carrying. In exchange, he requested a pound to cover the cost of his taxi fare home. He stated that it was a lovely silk umbrella that cost at least twenty pounds. Finally, the mother handed the old man a pound note in exchange for the umbrella. He thanked her gently and walked away.

The girl noticed him walking quickly and crossing the street. They decided to pursue him and ascertain the truth. After a lengthy pursuit, they spotted him entering a pub. They observed the man order whisky and gently consume it. Then he produced a pound note that had been given to him by the mother and paid the bartender. This time, it was a tall, slender gentleman without a coat or hat. He received one pound and resumed walking, but in a different direction. He returned to the location where he had hung his hat and coat. He lifted one of the umbrellas hanging there along with his coat and hat. He exited the bar and began walking in the direction he had come. Mother and daughter continued to follow. Thus, the small looking gentleman, who appeared to be gentle and polite, revealed himself to be a trickster. What he appeared to the mother did not substantiate this.

Analysis of The Umbrella Man

This is a funny story written by Roald Dahl Fans. It contains a humorous incident that is narrated by a small child. The mother and daughter visited the dentist in London one day. The young lady was having difficulty with a tooth. They returned to the cafe after the dentist’s clinic. The mother drank coffee, while the girl enjoyed a banana split. They emerged from the cafe shortly after six p.m. Rain had begun to fall. Mother and daughter were not wearing raincoats or hats. They were dressed in their customary garb. As a result, the mother chose to travel by taxi. They took their places on the pavement and began waiting for a taxi.

A man approached them at that precise moment. He was petite and must have been around seventy years old. He sported a white moustache, bushy white brows, and a creased pink face. With his umbrella, he shielded himself from the rain. He pleaded for permission to speak with her mother. His mother regarded him suspiciously. Mother’s thoughts on the stranger men were her own. “The nicer the man seems to be, the more suspicious you must become, ” she was adamant.

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The small man was polite, gentle, and pleasant in his demeanour. He was well-spoken, as well as well-dressed. Additionally, his mother took note of his shoes. That they were pleasant added to the evidence that he was gentle. The mother determined a man’s worth by the shoes he wore. “You can always spot a gentleman by the shoes he wears,” she stated. The elderly man politely requested assistance from his mother. He stated that he was elderly and had developed forgetfulness. He’d left his wallet behind at home. The mother reasoned that the man must be requesting money. He politely declined. The mother rushed because they were beginning to get wet in the rain. He was reminded of the same thing by his mother. He extended an invitation to the mother to take the umbrella he was holding. In exchange, he requested a pound for his taxi fare home.

The mother maintained her suspicions. She countered with a question: if he didn’t have the money, how did he get here? He explained that he takes a long walk every day. He used to take a taxi back. That was what he had been doing for the previous year. Why did he not walk home now, his mother inquired? He clarified that he is now elderly and that his legs will no longer allow him to walk. He stated that it was a lovely silk umbrella that must have cost more than twenty pounds. The girl and her mother were sympathetic and offered him a pound in lieu of the umbrella. However, the elderly gentleman politely denied taking it. Finally, the mother presented the old man with a pound note in exchange for which he handed her the umbrella. He gently expressed his gratitude and walked away.

The mother believed that the man was not only gentle but also wealthy. Otherwise, he would not have given a pound for the pricey silk umbrella. The mother was overjoyed with the arrangement. The girl observed him walking quickly and crossing the street. The way he walked did not indicate that he was tired, as he claimed. Even he did not attempt to hail a taxi. The mother locked her gaze on him; he appeared to be in a great hurry. They decided to pursue him and ascertain the situation. The mother crossed the road, holding the girl’s hand. Although the man was walking quickly, they followed him. At times, they had to run to keep up with him. After a lengthy pursuit, they observed him enter a pub. It was a pub called the Red Lion. From outside, the mother observed through the large glass window. The man-made his way through the crowd to the bar at the far end. They observed the man ordering whisky and drinking it delicately. Then he produced a pound note that had been given to him by his mother and handed it to the bartender.

The gentleman was standing near the bar counter, his face lit up with a smile of pleasure and satisfaction. He returned to the location of his hat and coat. He lifted one of the umbrellas hanging there alongside his coat and hat. He exited the bar and began walking in the direction he had entered. The mother and the girl continued to trail. They reappeared on the main street. He repeated the ruse. This time it was a tall, slender gentleman without a coat or hat. He received one pound and resumed walking but in a different direction this time. This indicates he did not return to the same bar. The mother stated that this man must be praying furiously for rain.

This story is one of the most memorable stories. The story is a humorous incident that is narrated by a small child. The mother and daughter visited the dentist in London one day. The young lady was having difficulty with a tooth. They returned to the cafe after the dentist’s clinic. The mother drank coffee, while the girl enjoyed a banana split. They emerged from the cafe shortly after six p.m. Rain had begun to fall. They took their places on the pavement and began waiting for a taxi.

Theme of The Umbrella Man

A man approached them at that precise moment. His mother regarded him suspiciously. He pleaded for permission to speak with her mother. The small was polite, gentle, and pleasant in his demeanour. The elderly man politely requested assistance from his mother. He stated that he was elderly and had developed forgetfulness. He’d left his wallet behind at home. He extended an invitation to the mother to take the umbrella he was holding. In exchange, he requested a pound for his taxi fare home. He stated that it was a lovely silk umbrella that must have cost more than twenty pounds. The girl and her mother expressed their sympathy and offered him a pound without taking the umbrella, which he politely declined. Finally, the mother presented the old man with a pound note in exchange for which he handed her the umbrella. He gently expressed his gratitude and walked away.

The girl observed him walking quickly and crossing the street. Even he did not attempt to hail a taxi. The mother locked her gaze on him; he appeared to be in a great hurry. They decided to pursue him and ascertain the situation. After a lengthy pursuit, they observed him enter a pub. It was a pub called the Red Lion. From outside, the mother observed through the large glass window. The man-made his way through the crowd to the bar at the far end. They observed the man ordering whisky and drinking it delicately. Then he produced a pound note that had been given to him by his mother and handed it to the bartender.

He returned to the location of his hat and coat. He lifted one of the umbrellas hanging there alongside his coat and hat. He exited the bar and began walking in the direction he had entered. The mother and the girl continued to trail. They reappeared on the main street. He repeated the ruse. He received one pound and resumed walking but in a different direction this time. This indicates he did not return to the same bar.

Thus, the storey highlights the contrast between appearance and reality. The elderly gentleman appeared polite and gentle. Furthermore, he appeared to be in need. His situation appeared to be legitimate. The mother exercised caution to avoid being duped. However, the man was successful in his deception.

Questions and Answers

Q. Summarise the short story The Umbrella Man.
Ans: “The Umbrella Man” is a well-known short story by Roald Dahi, a Welish novelist, short storey writer, poet, and former fighter pilot. Among his most celebrated works are ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ ‘Matilda,’ and ‘The Witches,’ among others. The storey has a genuine twist that makes it enjoyable to read, and we can appreciate the irony, the disconnect between appearance and reality.

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The story’s narrator is a twelve-year-old girl, and her mother, 34, is in London for a dentist appointment. After the girl had her tooth filled, they went to a café together. While the mother drank coffee, the girl ate a banana split. It had begun to rain as they attempted to return home. They do not possess a canopy. As a result, they opted for a taxi ride home. Despite the fact that numerous taxis passed by, they were all full of passengers. While the mother continued to look for a vacant taxi, an elderly gentleman approached them and offered them a twenty-pound umbrella in exchange for hiring the taxi. In the meantime, both mother and daughter were completely soaked. These events resulted in the small child and her mother searching for a taxi in the rain.

b) Sketch the characters of the old man in the story.

Ans: “The Umbrella Man” is a well-known short storey by Roald Dahi, a British novelist, short storey writer, poet, and former fighter pilot. Among his most celebrated works are ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ ‘Matilda,’ and ‘The Witches,’ among others. The storey has a genuine twist that makes it enjoyable to read, and we can appreciate the irony, the disconnect between appearance and reality.

An elderly gentleman approached the narrator girl and her mother as they waited for a taxi. He was a cunning individual. He explained that he had left his wallet at home and was looking to sell the umbrella in exchange for the cost of a taxi fare. However, his mother offered to drop him off or to pay for the cab fare. He opted out of both possibilities. The mother had a sneaking suspicion that he was corrupt and irrational. However, the youngster regards him as a gentleman. Finally, his mother agreed and handed him one pound in exchange for the umbrella. The elderly gentleman went to the pub and consumed the entire pound’s worth of alcohol. He grabbed another umbrella and walked down the street. As a result, we discover him to be not only a heavy drinker but also a man of dishonesty and thievery.

c) Describe the mother’s approach to the old man who asked for their assistance.

Ans: When the girl and her mother came out onto the road and it began to rain, they decided to hire a taxi. A little old gentleman approached the mother and offered to sell her the skill umbrella for a pound. The narrator’s mother initially expresses suspicion. At a later stage, the elderly man was convinced, and the transaction was completed. The mother was overjoyed and triumphant over the silk umbrella. While she was explaining to her daughter the value of judging others, the daughter notices the elderly gentleman entering a pub. Thus, the woman appears to be extremely kind, but not sufficiently cautious.

d) What did the young lady and her mother discover about the gentleman upon his entrance to the pub?

Ans: While the mother was explaining to her daughter the importance of judging people, the narrator girl noticed an elderly gentleman enter a pub. They were quite taken aback. He enjoyed himself at “The Red Lion” pub, where he ordered whisky for one pound. The elderly gentleman finished his drink and went to retrieve his coat and hat, and just as he was about to leave the pub, he snatched up another umbrella from the coat rack. He proceeded to another street, where he would sell the umbrella for money and have another round of whisky. They have discovered that she was a victim of the old man’s deception. As a result, the storey emphasises the contrast between appearance and reality.

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