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Roald Dahl - JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH




Roald Dahl: 

JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH

*  THE AUTHOR:

 

Roald Dahl was born in 1916 in Llandaff, Wales.

He attended Llandaff Cathedral- , St. Peter´s- and Repton School.



Before his career as an author started, he worked as a representative in East Africa for the "Shell Oil Company" and as air attache. And during the Second World War he was RAF fighter pilot.

James and the Giant Peach was Roald Dahl´s second book for children.

He wrote it in New York in the winter of 1960 after a long period in which he just wrote stories for adults.

            Roald Dahl died in 1990 at the age of seventy-four.

The motto he used to lived by was: "My candle burns at both ends. It will not last the night but ah my foes and oh my friends, it gives a lovely light."

Other books written by Roald Dahl are: Boy, Going solo, The BFG, The witches, Matilda, The Twits, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The magic finger, The giraffe and the pelly and me, Charly and the chocolate factory, Charly and the great glass elevator, The complete adventures of Charly and Mr. Willy Wonka, The enormous crocodile, George´s marvellous medicine, Tales of the unexpected, Kiss Kiss, Over to you, Ah sweet mystery of life, and others    

*  THE STORY:

A little boy called James Henry Trotter, whose parents were eaten by a rhinocerus, lives together with his two aunts Spiker and Sponge in a house on a hill. His aunts don´t treat him well, they always let him work hard and call him bad names. He feels very lonely and is very worried. Till one day, when an old man in a funny dark green suit comes to him. He gives James a bag with magic crocodile tongues.

And instead of drinking them as he is told, James stumbles near an antique peach tree and all the magic crocodile tongues are scattered and sink into the soil immediately. Later on a peach appears on the tree, hanging on a branch and growing continously until it reaches the ground.

One evening, when James is sent out into the dark to collect garbage from the garden-ground, he discovers a big hole in the peach where he decides to crawl in. Soon he comes to a door leading into the stone of the peach where a grasshopper, a centipede, a spider, an earthworm, a ladybird, a glow-worm and a silkworm are sitting. First James is very afraid of these insects because they are as big as himself. But soon they get on well with each other and the insects tell James that they are all going to make a big journey in the peach. And as the morning comes the great peach drops from its branch and starts rolling down the hill. It crosses the whole country until it splashes into the sea, leaves Great Britain behind, and floats into the open sea. This trip is turning out to be the greatest adventure for James and his animal friends they ever had.

After a while floating in the sea hundreds of sharks come romping around the peach and the inmates are afraid the sharks could make their peach sink. So the spider and the silkworm hurry up with spinning threads. With these they catch hundreds of seagulls by using the threads like lassos. The threads are attached to the peach and so the peach is carried through the air by the birds.

On their journey James and his friends also meet the cloud-men which are responsible for the weather on earth.

At last they arrive in America, New York, spiked upon the very pinnacle of the Empire State Building. And after causing a sensation, James and his exceptional-looking friends stay in New York having a good and normal life.

*  THE MAIN CHARACTERS :

James Henry Trotter:

a little boy; age between six and seven years; main character of the story

" There is something that I believe we might try," James Henry Trotter said slowly. "I´m not saying it´ll work . . ."

Aunt Sponge:

one of James´ aunts; an enormously fat and very short person looking like a great white soggy overboiled cabbage 

"I look and smell," Aunt Sponge declared,"as loveley as a rose! Just feast your eyes upon my face, observe my shapely nose!. And if I take off both my socks,  you´ll see my dainty toes."

Aunt Spiker:

James´ second aunt; a lean and tall and bony person with a screeching voice and long wet narrow lips




"I shall beat you later on in the day when I don´t feel so hot," she said. "And now get out of my sight, you disgusting little worm, and give me some peace!"

Old-Green-Grasshopper:

a "short-horned" grasshopper and a musician

"A real violin!" the Old-Green-Grasshopper cried. "Good heavens, I like that! My dear boy, I am a real violin! It is a part of my own body!"

Centipede:

a cheeky guy having forty-two legs, claiming to have one hundred; it always lasts long getting all his boots on or off his feet

"Poor fellow," the Centipede said, whispering in James´ ear. "He´s blind. He can´t see how splendid I look."

Earthworm:

blind; always very pessimistic

"Awkward!" cried the Earthworm. "My dear Old Grasshopper, we are finished! Every one of us is about to perish! I may be blind, you know, but that much I can see quite clearly."

Ladybird:

a nice insect; very helpful, sensitive and sensible

"Poor Earthworm," the Ladybird said, whispering in James´ear. "He loves to make everything into a disaster. He hates to be happy. He is only happy when he´s gloomy. Now isn´t that odd?!."

Miss Spider:

with her threads she can spin hammocks as comfortable as no one else

"I do hope you´ll find it comfortable," Miss Spider said." I made it as soft and silky as I possibly could. I spun it with gossamer. That´s a much better quality thread than the one I use for my own web."

Glow-worm:

gives a greenish light as bright as the brightest electric bulb; lightens up the whole inside of  the peach

"Oh, hello, James!" the Glow-worm said, looking down and giving James a little wave and a smile. "I didn´t see you come in. Welcome, my dear boy, welcome - and a good night!"

            Silkworm:

most times it sleeps because some time or other it will turn into a beautiful butterfly

*  INTERPRETATION / OWN OPINION:

The story  "James and the Giant Peach" starts in Great Britain, where James lives. He has a bad life.

Not only has he lost his parents very early but also he has to live with his two aunts, who treat him dreadfully. James´ two aunts call him bad names and also let him work hard for their pleasure. The boy also never is allowed to play with other children. It´s obvious that the situation of the poor boy has to change. He deserves to have a better life. And so instead of getting into contact with any organisation that protects children - as it would happen in reality, besides James doesn´t seem to attend school - James gets rescued out of this misery by magic. Magic is the key: James meets some nice creatures and makes friends with them. In addition magic manages to get James away from his aunts and his life so far. The peach starts rolling and the journey begins. During the time James shared with his aunts he always was very quiet and closed. But during the journey, being together with his friends, James turns out to be a very talkative, intelligent and responsible boy. He manages the hardest situations with his cleverness and imagination. In the end these make him and his friends survive the adventure. Maybe the journey ends in America because this land is called the land of opportunities. It´s a symbol for freedom and for a new start in life.

"James and the Giant Peach" is one of the nicest books for children I know.

           










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