Death of an Old Man – Roald Dahl
Death of an Old Man is a short story from Roald Dahl’s first book Over to You. It’s a story inspired by Roald Dahl’s own life, he was an aviator who fought against the Germans in the Second World War. The Short story tells the story of a British aviator, Charlie, who is afraid of the idea of dying. He doesn’t want to fly anymore but he still does it because he is not a coward and he will never get back. One day he has to fly in enemy territory (in Holland) where he is attacked by a German plane. They fight for a long time, doing almost the same moves at the same time, reasoning the same way, destroying each other’s plane at the same time and jumping out from the plane with a parachute at the same time. They finally fall in the same field where Charlie fights an ultimate time with the German who finally kills him by strangulation.
This short story is really cool because it shows really well that Charlie and the German guy could be brothers, reacting the exact same way as the other does, the only thing that differentiates them is their physicals. Roald Dahl also shows us that a human-being can be very calm when he is killing his “brother” because Charlie, who is afraid of death, is quiet only when he is fighting with the German guys. Roald Dahl also put a lot of sentiment when Charlie explains why he is afraid of dying, he said that Charlie is not afraid of the suffering that death gives but of missing fifty years of his life. At the end of the short story Charlie becomes a ghost and he is happier than when he was alive, showing that death is a kind of liberator.