Roald Dahl Fans.com

“The Hitchhiker” – Classroom Activities

These exercises were sent in by Jocelyn Allen, an Australian teaching English in Germany. They have been specially designed for non native English speakers. Thanks Jocelyn!


1. After reading the introduction, stop and try to plot the rest of the storyline in no more than 5 points.

2. The narrator uses the following words to describe his car. What does this tell us about his personality?

  • exciting toy
  • terrific acceleration
  • genuine soft leather
  • finest quality

3. What motivates the driver to stop for the hitchhiker?

4. Roald Dahl’s stories feature unique, easily imagined characters. Search the story for descriptions of the hitchhiker. Consider his appearance, behaviour, personality and speech.

5. What is your reaction to the comment ‘I never bet on horses’ he said. ‘I don’t even watch ’em run. That’s a stupid silly business’ ? (p140)

6. At what point in the story do you begin to have suspicions about the intentions, background or behaviour of the hitchhiker?

7. There are various examples of scenes where the tone, action or pace of the story changes. This would be especially obvious if you were reading the story aloud. Quote 2 examples and explain what the writer achieves.

8. What you think the author is suggesting to his readers about one of the below themes? Use 2 quotes to support your view:

  • police and laws
  • crime and punishment
  • success and failure
  • truth and lies
  • wealth and poverty.

9. The Hitchhiker ends ‘happily ever after’. How does Dahl create a cheerful, amusing conclusion?

10. Explain the following words / phrases:

popped up
to growl
thumbing a lift
to squeeze in
guv’nor
lousy
mugs
nosey parkers
despise
crummy
a tidy packet
roundabout
dual carriageway
to jam
to slack off
to loom up
lamely
prop stand
to keep mum
executioner
breeches
smouldering
to dash
mocking
a big gob of spit
offence
for a spell
the clink
hefty
into the bargain
summons
whopping
tremendously
copper
to be ashamed
crafty
peculiar
queer
daft
to glance
twerp
titchy
conjurer
crummy
card – sharp
flabbergasted
triumphant
to hitch up
to flog
huffily
to nick
publishers
pickpocket
vulgar
amateur
to queue up
bundle
thoroughly
to announce
to swerve