The Sound Machine : Roald Dahl’s Concern for Nature

Image source: Google

The Sound Machine : Roald Dahl’s concern for nature

Question : Discuss how does Roald Dahl show his concern for nature in his short story”The Sound Machine “.
 Answer : In the short story ” The Sound Machine ” Roald Dahl shows his concern for nature by means of the protagonist of the story  – Klausner.
     Klausner was an amateur scientist, distracted, nervous and twitchy person. He was obsessed with sounds in nature. He believed that there are some sounds, high pitched or low pitched and inaudible to human ears.
     In order to prove his theory he invented a sound machine, which could capture those insidious sound vibrations and convert them into the audible sounds.
    He worker hard, day and night to create such machine and tested it in his rear garden. While doing so, he heard the “throatless, inhuman shriek, sharp and short, very clear and cold”. 

     Looking around, he discovered that the shriek only came when his neighbour Mrs. Saunders cut the stems of the yellow roses in her garden. He felt that plants too undergo  pain and scream when they are hurt. Klausner being a scientist and a sensitive man, could feel the painful cry of the plants. 
        On the other hand, his neighbour, Mrs. Saunders and Dr. Scott could not understand his theory  and hence they could not feel compassion for the plants.
     Klausner tried to explain his experiment to Mrs. Saunders but she refused to do so. He asked her ” how do you know that a rose bush doesn’t feel as much pain when someone cuts its stem in two ……. It’s alive, isn’t it ? “

      This shows his concern for nature. Further, his concern for nature is also reflected when he tested his machine in a park on the beech tree. When he hit the trunk of the tree with an axe he could hear – “a harsh, noteless, enormous noise, a growling, low pitched, screaming sound …….like a sob.”

       He could not stop himself to touch the edges of the gash and tried to press them together to close the wound. He kept apologising the tree saying “Tree….oh tree…. I am sorry….. I am so sorry… But it will heal….”

      Such sympathetic behaviour of Klausner shows the concern of the author himself for the nature. 
     While waiting for Dr. Scott, he imagined what sort of a noise would be created if five hundred wheat plants were to be cut simultaneously. 
   “a field of wheat …….with the mower going through it, cutting the stems, five hundred wheat plants screaming together…”

       He felt that after hearing such a terrible sound, he would not be able to eat bread any more.
    He even thought about other vegetables “A potato would surely shriek; so would a carrot and an onion and a cabbage….. ” 

    However, when he tried to repeat the experiment and hit the axe on the tree trunk, a great branch of the tree fallen  off, smashing the machine into pieces. 
       Dr. Scott being concerned about his own safety, fled his spot and unable to hear the sound that the tree had made.
    Although Klausner was so disappointed at the failure of his experiment, he demanded the doctor to stitch the wound and rub some iodine on the gashes made by axe on the tree.
       ‘The story reveals the author’s own concern for nature by means of the main character Klausner.
    Klausner while  testing  his sound machine and proving his theory about inaudible sounds, he observed that plants give out painful cry when they are cut. 
    On hearing the painful shrieks of the plants, Klausner could sense the unheard pains of the nature when it is exploited and disturbed.  He evaluated that nature is also a living being and its destruction and damage also affects them a lot. They shout, shriek and cry in pain but unfortunately human ears can’t hear them  so they can not calculate the great harm caused to nature and its suffering.
     Klausner’s experiments and his sound machine reflects the idea of insensitivity of human beings towards those whose sufferings and shrieks they cannot hear and destroy them mercilessly.
     At the end, Klausner felt so sorry for his inhuman treatment towards the plants, during his experiments. Through the character of Klausner, Roald Dahl tries to generate sensitivity in human heart towards nature. He treats nature as a living entity, that is why he apologised the tree. 
    Human beings are ignoring the nature’s sound, which it gives out  through a number of natural calamities as a warning. If we continue to ignore the sounds of nature and keep on indiscriminately cutting trees we will meet the same fate as” the Sound Machine “.
   Thus, the story gives us  message to listen to the sounds of nature and make all efforts to conserve our natural environment.

1 thought on “The Sound Machine : Roald Dahl’s Concern for Nature”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top