Dip in the Pool

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Dip in the Pool” (1952) by Roald Dahl. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, and screenwriter. He is best known for his children’s books such as Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, or The Witches. His adult short stories often have a dark mood and surprising endings. The short story “Dip in the Pool” was originally published in “The New Yorker” magazine and a year later became part of the collection Someone Like You published in 1953. “Dip in the Pool” has also been adapted as part of the British television program Tales of the Unexpected (1979-1988). The program was created by Roald Dahl himself and included adaptations of several of his short stories. 


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 


The changing weather in the story symbolizes the way humans can never accurately predict how nature will act. Botibol believes the severity of the wind and waves at dinner means the weather is going to continue to be bad for several days in a row. Thus, he feels sure he can foresee how the ship’s speed will be affected by the weather. However, just as suddenly as the weather improved after three days of rough waves and then worsened again, it changes once more during the night and Botibol wakes up to a calm sea instead of the violent winds he was expecting. 

The changing weather can also be considered a symbol of how accurate predictions are impossible in all areas. When Botibol plans to throw himself overboard to ensure the ship slows down, he believes that all he needs to do is allow another passenger to see him fall, and he will be rescued. However, he is unable to predict the elderly woman’s reaction, which ultimately leads to his drowning.

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Dip in the Pool

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