Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Getty Images

A debate has erupted on social media after a quote from Roald Dahl's book The Twits resurfaced with some hailing it as 'beautiful' with others feeling that it is problematic.

The quote from the children's book which was published in 1980, describes how if an individual subscribes themselves to negative and 'ugly' thoughts then they will begin to appear ugly. Whereas someone who has positive thoughts will only beam with happiness. The quote in full reads as follows:

If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly that you can hardly look at it. 

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

It's a simple sentiment that anyone can understand, although what constitutes 'ugly' and 'good' thoughts is possibly open to interpretation. However, judging someone merely by their appearance, especially in 2020 perhaps isn't a fair representation of them overall as a person. This is the crux of the argument that Dahl's quote has created online.

There are those that think it is perfect:

Others feel that the quote promotes the wrong ideals and that we shouldn't judge someone on how they look, with many citing the authors reported antisemitic views which resulted in the Royal Mint rejected a commemorative coin for the author in 2018.

It would be interesting to see if Dahl, who died in 1990, would revise his views and works in the modern age but he was at least ahead of the game when it came to anti-vaxxers.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)