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A REAL WITCH spends all her time plotting to get rid of the children in her particular territory. Her passion is to do away with them, one by one. It is all she thinks. Get Free Read & Download Files Roald Dahl Novels PDF. ROALD DAHL NOVELS. Download: Roald Dahl Novels. ROALD DAHL NOVELS - In this site isn`t the. Roald Dahl A of ways. each chapter of the novel study focuses on three chapters of the bfg and is comprised of five of the following different activities.
He grew up hearing Norwegian myths and taking annual vacations to Norway, a setting which is significantly reflected in The Witches Howard. Dahl's mother honored his father's wishes and sent their children to English schools, despite the fact that at that time English schools stressed corporal punishment, of which Dahl's mother did not approve West. Consequently, Dahl was removed from preparatory school when he was severely beaten with a cane after he played a prank West. Dahl remembered those times as "days of horrors, of fierce discipline, of not talking in the dormitories, no running in the corridors, no untidiness of any sort, no this or that or the other, just rules, rules and still more rules that had to be obeyed.
And the fear of the dreaded cane hung over us like the fear of death all the time" Pendergast. Later, Dahl attended Repton, a prestigious English private school, where the headmaster was a clergyman who flogged students without mercy West. Such schools would later be reflected in Matilda through Miss Trunchbull, who is known for her capability to throw students great distances for offenses such as eating liquorice during scripture lessons Matilda.
The author of an unauthorized biography on Dahl comments further on the effect that Dahl's life had on his writings: "Dahl's moral universe was one in which there could be no question without an answer, no battle without victory, no irresoluble complexity. This was true of his writing, also" Treglown. Hence, the sum of these experiences developed in Dahl the cynical view of society that is conveyed in his literature.
Although most of Dahl's contemporary readers have not had the experiences that Dahl did, through his writing he establishes a common bond with all young people who have been oppressed or unfairly disciplined. This bond is developed as a result of Dahl's societal view, characterized by the belief that authorities and social institutions, such as government and schools, should not be trusted or accepted. Mark West, after spending a great deal of time interviewing Dahl and researching his works, concludes, "In almost all of Dahl's fiction--whether it be intended for children or for adults--authoritarian figures, social institutions, and societal norms are ridiculed or at least undermined" x.
Even the heads of the armed forces do not escape Dahl's scorn of social institutions. Consequently, the BFG states that they become "biffsquiggled" at any small obstacle, and the Queen calls them "rather dim-witted characters".
By displaying and ridiculing their incompetence, Dahl communicates the message that heads of social institutions can not be trusted to act intelligently. Adults, representations of authority to young people, are also dealt with harshly in Dahl's books if they dare to cause trouble for his young heroes or heroines. This treatment can be seen when Miss Trunchbull, the dictatorial headmistress of Matilda's school, becomes the target of Matilda's telepathic powers, and soon after vanishes.
This instance, and many others like it, reflect Dahl's attitude that "beastly people must be punished" in Pendergast.
The introduction to the Children's Literature Review entry on Dahl explains, "The morality of his writings is simple, usually a matter of absolute good versus consummate evil--with no shades of gray--and those who fall into the latter category are sure to meet with a swift and horrible end".
The exception to Dahl's portrayal of adult authority figures is "his tendency to see the family as a possible source of happiness and comfort" West.
In Dahl's books, with the exception of Matilda, family members are willing to support one another, even against the rest of the world. This is evident in the relationship between the main character and his grandmother in The Witches. For example, after the protagonist has been turned into a mouse and shares his plan to eliminate all the witches in England with his grandmother, her immediate reaction is, "We shall check it out immediately!.
There's not a second to waste! Therefore, not all adults are portrayed negatively, but any that abuse their authority over young people are severely punished. All of these factors that contribute to Dahl's implied criticism of society have generated contradictory responses. His view of society appeals to adolescents because it closely reflects their own perspective. First, as one critic suggests, he appeals to their "gut-punching and slapstick sense of humor" as well as their "crude sense of fun and delight in jokey phrases" Elkin.
Second, young adults often experience feelings of rebellion against the adults trying to socialize them, which is reflected by Dahl's overwhelmingly negative portrayal of adults Telgen. The tendency of adolescents to increasingly turn away from parents and reject the authority of adults while they seek to establish unique identities is cited by Erik Erikson as characteristic of the social development of adolescents Slavin.
Another component of Dahl's philosophy that appeals to early adolescents is the belief that good triumphs, and evil is punished or destroyed. For example, when the child-eating giants are captured in The BFG, they are thrown into a pit where they are imprisoned for life, without attempts to befriend them or draft them for some useful purpose Rees. Belief in the destruction or punishment of evil leads to a fourth aspect of Dahl's sociology that appeals to young people: the presence of physical violence as a means of retribution.
Julia Marriage, a reviewer for The School Librarian, notes that while the violence might concern adults, "children are likely to take this in their stride, however regrettable that may be" Telgen. These elements in Dahl's books reflect many adolescents' perspectives and provide an incentive for young people to read.
Another positive feature of Dahl's works is that they encourage young people through positive presentations of their peers at a time when many are struggling with low self-esteem and looking to peers for their identity.
Literary critic Linda Taylor notes that Dahl's main characters are known for their "wit, solitariness, independence, tenacity, intelligence and resourcefulness". This is especially significant for young women, because Dahl's female protagonists, like Matilda and Sophie, are independent and are not intimidated by authority figures West. For example, Matilda does not allow herself to become a helpless victim by refusing to let her poor home life deny her a sense of self-worth West.
When her parents refuse to download her books, she finds the public library on her own--at the age of four Matilda. This independence, characteristic of all Dahl's main characters, allows them to exact revenge against their oppressors Telgen. Matilda's revenge comes when her parents are going to force her to leave the country with them, but she manages to stay behind with her beloved teacher.
However, Dahl also offers the encouragement that these young heroes and heroines--independent and resourceful though they may be--are able to find comfort and support from older allies West. This is certainly the case in The Witches, when the main character, thinking about his grandmother, comments, "It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like so long as somebody loves you".
The results of these positive elements in Dahl's works are books that appeal to and offer encouragement to young adults. Yet, these positive effects are viewed by some to be overshadowed by the possible negative effects of Dahl's view of society on adolescents.
Critics' Objections to Dahl's Books Many challengers of Dahl's work object to his unrealistic portrayal of life. For example, David Rees , in an article published in Children's Literature in Education , states, "The trouble with Dahl's world is that it is black and white--two-dimensional and unreal".
Dahl's portrayal of life can be seen as a result of his overall philosophy of society. Since adults are not to be trusted, they are often portrayed as villains. Yet, Rees explains, "adults enter a child's world in a thousand different moral shapes and sizes". Very rarely does the average child encounter, as Sophie did, adults as evil as the flesh-eating giants, as incompetent as the heads of the armed forces, or as childlike as the BFG. For more information on the individual works, please visit the specific story pages linked to below.
Anthologies and collections co-written by Roald Dahl or inspired by his writings. Registered Charity No. Company limited by guarantee number Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity. Made by Opencultu. Basket 0. Roald Dahl titles A list of all Roald Dahl's books, in order of publication. Find out about Roald Dahl's stories and books Over to You.
Kiss Kiss. James and the Giant Peach. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Magic Finger. Fantastic Mr Fox. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Go the whole hog. Ryan-Sautour for her support, her inspiring guidance and her constructive criticism. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation for the classes delivered by the teaching team of M1; they allowed me to apprehend many new notions that enlightened my understanding of so much more than just the literary field.
My classmates and my partner were also very supportive and I would like to thank them for the many discussions we shared because they obviously enriched my own reflection. I would also particularly like to show my gratitude to Kathryn Derrick for her unconditional help during the course of this research paper. Last but not least comes my family for the support. Indeed, even though Roald Dahl wrote a large number of classics that have been adored by readers, he was and still is the victim of an endless debate concerning his stories for children.
He effectively remains one of the most controversial writers for children of the twentieth century along with other disturbing authors like Dr Seuss whose works celebrate children's rebellion and misbehaving or Shel Silverstein whose books were loved by children but also frequently banned because they were considered as too wild for young readers1.
Dahl's suitability is thus questioned and critics are divided into different groups when it comes to his work: His success is undeniable; even though his first stories were written as entertainment for his own children he often tried out his children's stories on his own children at bedtime , everyone knows Roald Dahl and most of his children's books are still sold all over the world and are still re-published or re- edited.
The writer has clearly become one of the most iconic literary figures in the canon of children's literature so much that a Roald Dahl day is celebrated every year in September and a Roald Dahl museum was created in He risked the anger of critics with his fearless approach to writing and this dissertation will be devoted to that controversy over Roald Dahl. It will however focus on a precise point: In his stories for children, the author tends to present harsh storylines or odious characters and it can be a 1 http: Casulli 5 troublesome experience for a child to read a book by Dahl.
There is no shortage of pain in his books and the children depicted in his stories are often given the worst the world can offer: Charlie and his family almost starve to death, James loses his parents and is then beaten by his relatives or the protagonist's lifetime in The Witches is shortened when he is transformed into a mouse.
Readers children and adults alike can be shocked when reading Dahl's stories and Jacob M. Held underlines the fact that only "readers familiar with his other works would be waiting for the inevitable tragedy" 2. Effectively, Roald Dahl is known as a writer for children but he also wrote short-stories and fictions for adults that are often considered as dreadful, morbid and macabre and as Catherine Butler suggests "Not only did he recycle plots from his adults stories for use as children's books, but the cynical and even sadistic elements within his adult fictions sometimes find disguised expression in his books for children" 6.
As a consequence, reading a book for children written by Dahl for the first time can be disturbing because his work is clearly tinted with dark corners.
The dark side of Roald Dahl's stories might comes from his life and the terrible events the author had to face. Indeed, Dahl's books generally echo the author's life. For instance, Roald Dahl's father and sister died when the author was just a child and that probably explains the fact that a lot of his heroes and heroines are orphans whose lost their parents in terrible accidents: James' parents were killed by a beast in James and the Giant Peach and the narrator's parents in The Witches were also violently killed in a car accident.
His experience as a child probably generated in him an accurate understanding of the unspoken fears a child can have. Moreover, his traumatic experience at a school named Repton is clearly described in Boy: Tales of Childhood, which is a very violent book depicting fagging, beating, the torture of new boys and other miseries: They were called Boazers, and they had the power of life and death over us junior boys.
They could summon us down in our pyjamas at night-time and trash us for leaving just one football sock on the floor of the changing-room" Matilda is probably the novel which highlights this statement the most. As an adult, Roald Dahl also had to face tragic events such as an accident that almost killed his little boy, Theo, or the death of Olivia, his older daughter aged 7.
All those dreadful events surely pushed the author to write stories for children that do not hide the notion of death and that suggest that life can be chaotic and often painful in his writing. Despite the dark touches of his stories, Dahl remains one of the most read authors for children and he has clearly become an important British literary figure.
All these books remain classics and are still read all over the world. Moreover, Dahl's impact on British literature and civilisation is clearly noticeable thanks to one famous celebration, mentioned earlier in this introduction: Thus, the aim of this dissertation will be to examine the different manifestations of the author's perversion that we can find in his books for children. Before proceeding, a definition of the main concept that will be used in these pages should be carried out.
Indeed, the notion of "perversion" should be explored in its difficult and different aspects. When one uses the word "perversion" nowadays, it is often related to the sexual meaning of the word. Throughout this dissertation, that Freudian aspect is to be forgotten and, on the other hand, the very roots of the word "perversion" will be useful to understand the perversion of the author and his stories. Etymologically speaking, the word "perversion" stems from the latin " pervertere"; "per" meaning "away" and "vertere" meaning "to turn.
It is surprising that children are attracted to such horrid stories in which the characters are miserable and mistreated by relatives and yet, Roald Dahl was a writer for children who was not afraid to tell his readers that life is not pain-free or easy and that we have to cope with its difficulties.
Furthermore, Saverio Tomasella, in his book La Perversion: This statement can also clearly be applied to Roald Dahl whose books are considered as immoral and subversive.
Undoubtedly, since the author likes to present dark and unsettling stories for children, he can clearly be identified as a "perverse" writer as this idea of perversion is linked to his "carnavalesque" L'univers 16 world: There are effectively forms of temporary inversion that occur in his writing children take control, parents are immature or witches are poisoned by their own magic and there is also a sense of celebration of this perversion: Readers are invited to do so by his texts because, in his stories, Dahl depicts vulnerable children who temporary reverse their status but eventually win over a wicked world.
He consequently enjoys discrediting adults in his stories and thus makes them look rather appalling. In other words, the author tends to overturn his plots by telling children that life is not easy and by making adults look ridiculous. Roald Dahl turns his fictional world upside down to entertain and gain the child-reader's sympathy. And that is another caracteristic of a perverse attitude. Roald Dahl, by talking about taboos, by wanting his readers to dare things and by encouraging parents not to be overprotective, can clearly be identified as a perverse and subversive author for children.
Besides, the perversion in his work can take many forms and can be found on many levels: Another aim Dahl seems willing to achieve by putting his child characters into dangerous life conditions is to educate children. Indeed, Roald Dahl's works have been considered "modern fairy tales" because of their didactic functions.
Fairy Tales are generally brief and simple narratives that relate a reversal of fortune and they are often written to demonstrate a moral point. The most famous writers of fairy tales are the French author Perrault who wrote Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals known as Mother Goose Tales in and the German Grimm Brothers who were specialized in collecting and publishing folklore stories in the nineteenth century.
Dahl seems to have been inspired by those narratives and his stories can, effectively, be considered as traditional fairy tales because they deal with difficult and dark matters, but they are also contemporary fairy tales because they approach modern issues of childhood and entertain at the same time.
Jacob M. Dahl's interest in traditional fairy tales is evident in his decision to re-interpret famous tales in a book entitled Revolting Rhythmes and published in Those tales are a clear perversion of traditional versions of tales and they reach back to the more violent roots of the Grimms and Perrault.
So not only does he offer playful retellings of such classic tales, he also recuperates their original violence. In other words, Roald Dahl appears as a subversive and perverse writer because his books celebrate day-dreaming, disobedience or answering back and they overturn adult pretensions and make fun of adult institutions including schools and family.
In his books, many moral codes are reversed: Furthermore, Roald Dahl has regularly been considered as a subversive writer for children because he puts himself in league with them against adults and he clearly tells his readers that life can be arduous whereas, as Bruno Bettelheim reminds us: This dissertation will endeavour to examine the different aspects of Roald Dahl's books' perversion through a selected corpus of the writer, namely James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches and Boy: This paper will be divided into three main parts.
The first part will present the fictional world of Roald Dahl which is a hateful, violent or even morbid one. The second part will be dedicated to the reception of Dahl's books for children and thus it will underline the obvious manipulation the writer uses to make his child-readers enjoy this perverse fictional world.
Finally the last part will deal with Roald Dahl's perversion as a distortion of children's literature and, more precisely, this part will consider the position of the author's work in the canon of children's 3 This is also an idea Bruno Bettelheim defended. Casulli 10 literature. Indeed, his stories are generally dark fables in which a child hero finds himself alone in an unpleasant world peopled by immoral and cruel adults and this hero has to rebel in order to succeed.
In most of his stories, villains are adults who do not pay attention to children or who clearly hate them and want to make them disappear.
James and the Giant Peach is one of the first stories for children he wrote and it illustrates the hateful and cruel relationship between adults and children. The story is about a young boy named James who has to live with his aunts when his parents die. One day, James meets a strange man who offers him a bag of magical "crocodile tongues" 18 but when the young boy falls, the tongues scatter around a peach tree that becomes enchanted by the power of the magical tongues.
A peach then grows to the size of a "small house" 30 and James decides to venture inside the peach where he meets human-sized insects. He soon becomes friends with them and together, they travel around the world and live extraordinary but dangerous adventures. Right from the very first page of the book, the child hero faces a "nasty experience" 7 and is sent away to live with his two awful aunts; Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker.
James' "happy life" 7 is over and the poor little boy has to cope with a new life full of cruelty and terror at his aunts' house: Although his aunts should cherish and love him, they despise him and they love to see him suffer. One of the tortures they 4 For instance, James and the Giant Peach or, more recently, Revolting Rhythmes were banned because of their vulgarity http: The last part of this paper will examine these controversial aspects in depth.
Casulli 11 make him endure is psychological. For instance, they insult him all day long: The protagonist, although he is a young and vulnerable child, is thus seen as a burden.
Roald Dahl shows a deep contrast between James' former happy life and James' current awful life. Rather than living on the beach with his beloved parents, he lives in "a queer ramshackle house" 8 on a hill that is barricaded.
James Henry Trotter is kept imprisoned and the only social interaction he has is with his nasty aunts. Right from the start of his writing career, Roald Dahl already told his readers that, even if they are happy now, life can change and can turn out a way they would have not imagined. Indeed, when reading James and The Giant Peach, it does not take a long time to discover that life can be terribly painful for everyone.
James is unhappy and he does not deserve it. His relatives, who should care for him, do not allow him to play with other children, or worse, they do not want him to eat a proper meal and they beat him. Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge abuse him both verbally and physically.
In this story, Dahl perverts the original relationship aunts should have with their nephews and nieces: In other words, the usual family romance is reversed in Dahl's world, and James is not the only Dahlian hero to be a victim of that perverse reversal.
Indeed, the most striking perversion of the family romance is to be seen in Matilda. The novel deals with a "sensitive and brilliant" 10 little girl named Matilda who goes to school for the first time and there, she encounters a terrifying head teacher who mistreats the children.
But when Matilda is threatened, she discovers that she has the power of telekinesis which enables her to take revenge. In this novel, Roald Dahl clearly reverses many family characters. Like James, Matilda discovers that the people who are supposed to love and care for her do not: The eponymous heroine is a precociously intelligent child but her parents are neglectful and abusive towards her and they do not care about her incredible abilities: Casulli 12 "Her mind was so nimble and so quick to learn that her ability should have been obvious even to the most half-witted of parents.
But Mr and Mrs Wormwood were both so gormless and so wrapped up in their own silly little lives that they failed to notice anything unusual about their daughter" In this case, Roald Dahl's perversion is obvious: As Ann Alston underlines in Roald Dahl: The Wormwoods embody the negative image of the modern family: Worse, she is mentally abused by those careless parents who call her "stupid" 22 , "ignorant little squirt" 26 or "cheat and liar" 55 although she is not. Roald Dahl thus challenges the child-reader's understanding of a family as being loving, supportive and safe.
In a fictional world, and especially in children's literature, the reader would expect to read about a model family. Instead, Dahl turns the family away from its initial course and relatives, in his stories, are villains who want to get rid of children. The comfort of family is upset: The reversal of the family dynamic presented in his fictions highlights the author's interest in the tradition of fairy tales in which parents are often depicted as malevolent. Indeed, in this fairy tale, Cinderella's father gives his new wicked wife power over his household and he lets her physically and mentally abuse his own child.
Furthermore, instead of teaching his children to behave properly, like any parent would, Mr Wormwood teaches them to cheat people. For instance, he puts sawdust in the cars' oil to make them run longer or he uses a specific method to make the speedometer go backwards and he lies to his customers by telling them they are downloading a new car.
In Roald Dahl's world, parents do not act as a young reader would expect them to act, and adults, in general, are not to be trusted. In both novels James and The Giant Peach and Matilda, Roald Dahl perverts the traditional relationship between a child and his relatives and, on the contrary, the author tends to present a violent and unsentimental view of families.
Moreover, later in the novel, Matilda has to face a stricter environment: As Donald Sturrock reveals in a biography entitled Storyteller, The Life of Roald Dahl, the author's schooldays were dreadful and his "pleasures of youth had been stifled by an unfair system that was devoid of affection and feeling … " Dahl was effectively bullied at school: Thus, one can find parrallels between Dahl's own experience and the fictional experience the author creates for his heroine, Matilda.
Indeed, in the novel, education looks strikingly like punishment. Matilda's school, Crunchem Hall Primary School, is ruled by Miss Trunchbull, "a gigantic holy terror, a fierce tyrannical monster who frightened the life out of the pupils and teachers alike" Her name is obviously related to her violence since references to a weapon the truncheon and to a huge and brutal animal the bull are made in her name.
Like Matilda's parents, the terrifying headmistress does not act like she is supposed to. She is the exact opposite of what a young reader would expect: She even admits, in front of them, her own idea of the educational system: She seems incapable of empathy towards her school's children.
In Roald Dahl, Jackie E. Stallcup clearly suggests that Miss Trunchbull is a perverse character by stating that "she performs actions that are wildly misaligned with our expectations of normal adult behaviour" Miss Trunchbull turns away from her profession by being violent to the pupils and, as readers, we do not expect her to act that vicious way.
Throughout the novel, the reader can feel horrified by her actions and the abuse the children suffer from. Roald Dahl once again creates a perverse character because Miss Trunchbull's personality interferes with our expectations of a normal headteacher behaviour: We simply do not expect her to dislike pupils because of her profession and Roald Dahl is clearly aware of the perversion he is creating because the narrator of the novel admits: Now most of head teachers are chosen because they possess a number of fine qualities.
They understand children and they have the children's best interests in heart. They are sympathetic. They are fair and they are deeply interested in education. Miss Trunchbull possessed none of these qualities and how she ever got her present job was a mystery.
When a child disobeys, he is punished severely through the use of violence, as we shall see below. The nasty headteacher has an absolute control over the school, the pupils and the teachers and she wants to preserve it by using violence.
The novel clearly describes several perverse relationships and characters: In other words, as Elizabeth Butterfield suggests "the reprehensible reaction Matilda received from the most important adults in her life was one of resentment" Held et al. As in James and The Giant Peach and Matilda, The Witches also deals with this notion of bullying the weak, taking control over them and worse, getting rid of them.
The story is a simple yet terrifying narrative told by an unknown and unnamed narrator. One day, the "witchophile" 39 grandmother becomes ill and they decide to go on holiday in the south of England to rest. At the hotel, the young boy quickly realises he is surrounded by witches who wants to get rid of all the children in England when he attends their meeting by mistake.
Unfortunately, the witches discover he was listening to them and the Grand High Witch turns him into a mouse with the new formula she has just invented. Then, the young boy and his grandmother decide to stop the witches' plan. Undoubtedly, one of the major themes of the novel is the theme of hatred towards children. Indeed, the children in the stories are, here again, bullied and they have to face horrible witches to gain power and reverse the situation.
Thus, The Witches is another example of Roald Dahl consistently perverting the traditional benevolent relationship adults should have with children. Dahl's witches are, effectively, horrible women who want to harm children: Roald Dahl's witches are perverse characters because, as the narrator explains they cheat children by pretending to be ordinary women.
Dahl's witches seem to be everywhere and nobody can escape from them. Here Dahl tends to present an unsettling setting because, for a young reader, a fictional woman can be associated with a mother figure representing love and safety and yet, Dahl turns his fictional world upside down and seems willing to disturb his readers. His witches, just like James' aunts or Matilda's parents and head teacher, refuse to adopt their traditional caring role.
June Pulliam, in Roald Dahl, states that "Dahl's witches are devouring mothers who only pretend to love children in order to do them harm. In The Witches, Roald Dahl strikingly reverses the adult-child relationship and turns it into a hateful and malevolent one.
Roald Dahl tends to offer many unsentimental and perverse views of family and, in his fictions for children, the ennemies often come from within the family sphere. He often places his heroes in lonely and frightening worlds in which the initial relationship between a child and an adult is reversed and based on cruelty.
And those those notions of reversal and cruelty are highly relevant here because, according to Saverio Tomasella, they provide the basis for a perverse personality: As mentioned above, the relationships the author creates are often based on violence and are thus often perverted.
In his book entitled Boy: This book is a very violent one because Roald Dahl describes the torture and the different kinds of bullying he had to face when he was younger. In Boy, the author seems willing to show that, when he was a schoolboy, the teachers and the school staff in general were more concerned about controlling and terrifying the kids rather than providing them with a proper education: Boy is not a very long book but throughout the novel, the reader is told, in a very crude way, about all the violence and the humiliation the author faced when he was younger.
Thus, it is not surprising that one of Roald Dahl's favourite themes is the use of violence and cruelty by authority figures on the weak.
Indeed, as previously specified, Dahl's characters do not act as they are expected to. Casulli 17 Matilda's headteacher, Miss Trunchbull uses horrific methods to scare the children and make them behave properly. She is seen as an evil headmistress and a control freak, who just want to rule the school the way she wants without even considering the children's needs. Miss Trunchbull is violent in many ways: Although she is a woman, she can clearly be related to a powerful masculine figure because of her former olympic career which seems to define who she is.
Dennis Kelly, a British film writer, even decided to hire a man Christopher Sieber to play Miss Trunchbull's part in the musical based on Matilda in Broadway, to highlight the character's man-like behaviour. In other words, Miss Trunchbull is everything but delicate. She is not violent because she is represented as a man, but because she is associated with forms of masculine oppression and abuse. She seems to be a combination of Roald Dahl's own teachers and the author even refers to his own childhood experience when Miss Trunchbull admits that she would be glad if she could use the birch and belt to punish the children.
However, the cruel head teacher decides to use even worse means of punishment. For instance, in the middle of the story, Matilda encounters another school girl who tells her about a very special method Miss Trunchbull uses: The chokey is a cupboard created by the head mistress to harm the children: Moreover, Miss Trunchbull also uses her olympic skills to scare and hurt the pupils.
Everytime she disapproves of what a child does or says, she uses violence to punish. Later in the novel, the reader is told a very awful and violent mean of punishment the head teacher practices: Indeed, Miss Trunchbull decides to harm a little girl by catapulting her across the school playground because she is wearing pigtails and the head teacher simply hates that.
Furthermore, Miss Trunchbull shows her violence another time when she forces a young boy to eat an "enormous round chocolate cake" because she suspects he stole a slice of her snack the day before. Other punishments include suspending children in the air by their hair, ears, and ankles before dropping them on the floor. The violence of Miss Trunchbull is explicitely described in the novel and the head teacher does not worry about the consequences of her actions.
Her only will is to scare the children and do them harm in order to make them obey. Throughout the book, the reader can feel disturbed by her violent punishments and the brutal way she treats the pupils because, as Heather Worthington states in Roald Dahl: Roald Dahl also clearly shows a sadistic tendency in Charlie and Chocolate Factory in which violent punishments are described.
This famous book tells the story of Charlie Bucket, a poor young boy, who finds one of the five "Golden Tickets" 20 and wins a special prize: There, he meets four other young contestants and their parents but strange things will happen to them because they do not behave properly.
First of all, the story does not start joyfully and readers can witness a new kind of violence: Indeed, the book begins with the presentation of Charlie's family and, right from the start of the novel, the reader is told that Charlie is very poor and that he is starving to death.
The violence of Charlie's struggle to survive is obvious in the first pages. The narrator also informs the readers that Charlie's father is hard-working and struggles to make his family live a decent life: In other words, right from the start, the reader is struck by the misery in which the Bucket family lives and the reader can also be shocked by the difficulties they have to face in order to survive.
Indeed, the first thing Charlie sees but also smells when walking to school is the chocolate factory: Walking to school in the mornings, Charlie could see great slabs of chocolate piled up high in shop windows, and he would stop and stare and press his nose against the glass, his mouth watering like mad.
Many times a day, he would see other children taking creamy bars out of their pockets and munching them greedily, and that, of course, was pure torture. The other violence readers can witness is physical. Indeed, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is a very violent book because the story relates horrible punishments the naughty child contestants undergo throughout the novel. Effectively, at the end of the book, all the children, except Charlie, see their body and their behaviour transformed because of the violent punishments they faced in the factory.
However, the narrator makes sure, thanks to the descriptions he gives, that the reader knows why those children have been punished. One can easily understand that each child behaves badly. The reader understands that the other children contestants are sinners with uncontrollable and intemperate desires.
The songs the Oompa-Loompas sing at the end of each punishment also highlight the fact that the child is punished because he is naughty. For instance, when Veruca Salt has just gone down the garbage chute, the factory workers sing: And this is the price she has to pay For going so very far astray.
This idea of finding pleasure in the evil is central in Dahl's work and will be developed later in this paper. Casulli 20 First, the reader meets Augustus Gloop, an "enourmously fat" 21 and "repulsive boy" 23 whose parents seem proud of his incredible ability to eat so much. The readers are told that he has become passionate about food and that all his life is dedicated to it. Basically, Augustus Gloop represents gluttony and he is going to be punished for this sin in Wonka's factory.
The second winner of the Golden Ticket is a spoiled little girl named Veruca Salt who just "needs a real good spanking" 25 according to Charlie's grandmother. Veruca Salt seems to be spoiled rotten because her parents are unable to say "no" to her. She is the exact opposite of Charlie who has to struggle just to survive. Thanks to her description, the reader realizes that Veruca has a moral flaw: She uses others to satisfy her superficial and useless needs. Another Golden Ticket finder is Violet Beauregarde who is a "despicable" 32 girl who clearly lacks manners.
Her passion is to chew gum and she even participates in gum chewing competitions. According to Jacob M. Held, Violet Beauregarde is a very perverse and disrespectful character because "Her gum chewing borders on the obscene; it's a perverse distortion of a natural life function.
She turns the natural function of chewing away from what it should be used for: And thus, she makes it perverse.
Like the previous chosen contestants, she represents a specific flaw and she will be violently punished for it. The last contestant is Mike Teavee and the narrator tells the reader that this character just watches television and plays video games all day long.
According to the author, it is clearly a moral flaw because through the narrator voice, we can clearly recognize Roald Dahl's own voice. Indeed, it is known that Roald Dahl thought television was a questionable and useless pastime and he seems willing to expose his criticism in the book thanks to the Oompa-Lompas' song after Mike's punishment: Casulli 21 The most important thing we've learned, So far as children are concerned, Is never, never, NEVER let Them near your television set-- Or better skill, just don't install The idiotic thing at all.
Their initial hobbies have been perverted into obssessions that rule their lives and, in Willy Wonka's factory, they will learn the consequences of their actions. Indeed, as mentioned before, each child is punished in a violent way in the book. To begin with, Augustus Gloop, who represents gluttony, falls in the chocolate river, in which he nearly drowns, then he is absorbed by the pipe which squeezes him, and finally his body is altered.
Then, Violet Beauregarde literally turns violet when she decides to taste a stick of gum and her body is also transformed into "an enormous round blue ball — a gigantic blueberry, in fact" Next comes Veruca Salt who is carried off by squirrels who drag her to the rubbish chute when she tries to steal one of them for her own pleasure. And finally, Mike Teavee is sent into a television set and is shrunk. Thus, it is possible to notice that each child has a similar nasty and violent experience which leaves him disfigured and altered.
Roald Dahl clearly perverts the story plot because, at the beginning of the novel, the reader thinks that Willy Wonka invited five children to visit his factory and enjoy it: One of the most perverse things one can observe when reading Charlie and The Chocolate factory is Willy Wonka's behaviour.
When this character appears for the first time in the novel, he is described as a crazy man who cannot behave properly in society: And oh, how clever he looked! How quick and sharp and full of life! He kept making quirky little movements with his head, cocking it this way and that, and taking everything in with those bright and twinkling eyes … Suddenly, he did a funny little skipping dance in the snow and he spread his arms wide, and he smiled at the five children who were clustered near the gates, and he called out, "Welcome, my little friends!
Welcome to the factory! Before meeting this character, a young reader would expect him to act like a self made man, a man responsible for a factory who built a great empire but instead, he meets a crazy and excited man who cannot channel himself in front of guests. Although a child- reader would expect the children to be punished by a trustworthy character, it is not the case and the blurring of moral codes is complete on all levels. The book has also been extremely criticized because of Willy Wonka's treatment of the Oompa-loopas whom he treats as slaves.
The Ompa-loompas are "tiny men" that are "no larger than medium-sized dolls" 68 , and Willy Wonka claims he imported them from a country known as "Loompaland" Thus, the factory creator can be seen as a slave owner who makes foreigners run his factory while paying them with food.
He also claims he had rescued them because he saved them from starvation and death. Finally, he implies he civilized them because "they all speak English now" However, the most surprising and perverse reaction Willy Wonka has is when the children are being punished. Indeed, in the novel, there are four emergencies, four possible tragedies but he remains extremely calm. Indeed, every time a child is punished in his factory, the chocolate man is not surprised and he even uses a lot of sarcasm despite the worries the parents have about their child.
Indeed, it seems that he completely disregards the parents' feelings or the children's potential tragic casualties. While the reader effectively understands that the punishments the children face are violent and that the children can easily be hurt, Willy Wonka acts in a very casual way. For instance, after Augustus Gloops had been sucked up the chocolate pipe, his parents worry that he might "be made into marshmallows in five seconds" 75 or that he will be sold all over the country when that happens.
The way Willy Wonka reacts to those normal worries is disturbing and perverse because he laughs and says that "the taste would be terrible" 76 although he should be preoccupied by his guest's well-being. After, when Violet eats the gum and is transformed into a giant blueberry, her parents worry that she will never be the same again but Wonka stays casual, and he even suggests that she is not the first one to be mistreated by that special gum: Once again, Willy Wonka acts in a perverse way by neglecting the parents' normal fears instead of trying to reassure them.
His factory is a very perverse setting because the reader encounters flawed and misbehaving children, violent ways of punishment and finally, a crazy, almost malevolent man who does not worry about the serious casualties or the possible deaths the children can experience. Indeed, Dahl clearly tends to present life as chaotic and painful, and he seems willing to tell us that everybody has to face its difficulties in order to grow-up.
And, indeed, as mentioned above, the child contestants in Charlie potentially face many awful ways to die. For instance, Augustus may die by drowning or may be cut into fudge. However, the first noticeable reference to death in Dahl's work is expressed by the fact that many of his heroes are orphans.
As previously mentioned, Roald Dahl tends to expose the harshness of life, and in many of his novels his child hero has to cope with this harshness through the loss of a loved one.
In the first page of James and The Giant Peach, for instance, the reader witnesses James' parents' death and this death is a very violent and unexpected one. The protagonist's parents are effectively killed by a rhinoceros that escaped the Zoo. This unusual accident is made even more violent by the fact that the narrator only uses one sentence to describe it: The abruptness of this sentence can provoke a shock for the young reader who was told just a few seconds before that James was happy and thus did not expect James' parents to be killed so quickly and so violently right at the beginning of the novel.
James's two aunts are also killed when the peach crashes down on them: Those deaths are exaggerated and their unusual dimension contributes to the notion of carnavalesque stated earlier.
Moreover, just before they got killed, the two awful aunts discuss their nephew's disappearance and here again, death is mentioned. Later in the novel, James and his new friends also face potential deaths when they experience many dangerous adventures. For instance, while floating on the sea on the giant peach, they realise they have nothing to eat and that they may starve to death.
Unfortunately, they cannot eat the peach otherwise they will drown. Here, death seems to be the only way out for the characters when two of them argue: It's the only thing that is keeping us up!
The characters are aware of the potential death they may be facing if the sharks eat the peach: We are finished now' cried Miss Spider, wringing her feet. They will eat up the whole peach and then there'll be nothing left for us to stand on and they'll start on us! Later, death is threatening again when the strings the seagulls are pulling to make the peach fly are cut off by a plane and the fruit begins to fall.