Roald Dahl (1916 – 1990) was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot. Among his best-known works are children's stories such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.
Spanking in Dahl's works
Dahl was born in Wales to Norwegian immigrant parents. In his autobiographic book Boy he tells of the harsh canings he received and witnessed as a boy in Welsh and English schools. He declared that he is not against mild forms of corporal punishment, such as a smacking with the open hand, but feels strongly against the hard injury-causing canings that were common practice in the 1920s and 1930s. He remembers with bitterness especially those canings that were undeserved, and the complete helplessness of children in a schooling system that made such injust acts of cruelty possible.
In the same book, Dahl also gives details of the fagging system that was in place then, and how it made things even worse for the boys serving as "fags" to older students who also had the power to chastise them at liberty and give them practically any chore to do anytime — including tasks like warming the cold toilet seats.
He describes Geoffrey Fisher, who later became Archbishop of Canterbury and crowned Queen Elizabeth II, as a merciless child caner. This caused him to "have doubts about religion and even about God". Because of his anti-abusive attitude, he was never made a prefect as a senior student, although being a multiple sports captain would have normally qualified him for that position.
The British horror anthology TV series Tales of the Unexpected ("Galloping Foxley", 1980), based on the short story by Roald Dahl of the same title, features spanking.
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