The Way Up to Heaven

This study guide will help you analyse the short story “The Way Up to Heaven” by Roald Dahl. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characterisations, setting, narrator and point of view, language, themes and message, and help you put the short story into perspective.

Presentation of the text

Title: “The Way Up to Heaven”
Author: Roald Dahl
Date of Publication: 1954
Genre: Short story

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was a British author of Norwegian descent who wrote short stories, novels, poems and screenplays. The author is mostly known for his children stories and for the unexpected endings to his fiction. His most popular works today are James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.


You can find an excerpt from our study guide to the text below:


The title of Roald Dahl's short story - “The Way Up to Heaven”- sounds optimistic and makes readers think the story may be related to flying. However, after reading the short story, the title becomes an ironic allusion to death. In the story, one of the main characters, Mrs Foster, is indeed preparing to take a flight from New York to Paris. However, the story is actually about the conflict between her and her husband, which ultimately pushes the woman to leave her husband to die trapped in the lift inside their house, before she leaves for Paris.

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The Way Up to Heaven

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