Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl · Read more Children's Books - Dahl, Roald - George's Marvellous Medicine · Read more. ROALD DAHL – Matilda. The Reader of Books. 1. Page 2. ROALD DAHL – Matilda. The Reader of Books. 2. Page 3. ROALD DAHL – Matilda. The Reader of . Download most popluar PDF Books now Roald Dahl eBooks. by Roald Dahl · Fiction Books The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl Download PDF.

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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.

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.

The characters' death seems to be closer than ever because the peach is about to crash to earth and James cried: Shut your eyes everybody! It won't be long now! However, they will be saved by a building and the book will end happily. In The Witches, the reader is once again confronted with an orphan. The narrator's parents are effectively killed in the novel in a car accident and, as in James and the Giant Peach, the event is related in a very simple and crude sentence: The reader is taken aback by the violence of those words and the reaction of the narrator who tells him in a very indelicate way.

After his parents' death, the narrator realises that his Grandmother is very old and can soon die because she is diagnosed with pneumonia. Here again, the characters face death several times throughout the novel. Indeed, the reader learns, at the end of the book, that because he is a mouse now, the narrator is not expected to live more than nine years: The most perverse thing about the narrator's transformation is that, as Catherine Butler suggests in Roald Dahl, the reader would expect "a restoration" 9 of the protagonist's natural state: Although he knows he is going to die within nine years, he accepts it and that can be disturbing: His calm acceptance of this fact, and his contentment at the prospect of dying at around the same time as his own grandmother, ought to be a disaster for the book.

Indeed, there are many possible objections to it: Butler 9 Roald Dahl decides to disrupt the reader's expectations and, once again, his book represents perversion. The film The Witches, directed by Nicholas Roeg in , however presents that restoration and the narrator named Luke in the film is transformed into a human again. Matilda, as we have seen so before, is also a disturbing book because the author transforms the traditional loving family dynamic into a malevolent and uncaring one.

Besides, the notion of death is also clearly present in that novel. Indeed, the author, through the use of violent punishments, implies that the children can be easily killed by the terrible head teacher but fortunately, the reader learns that the victims only suffer from broken bones Dahl, Matilda or ear stretching Dahl, Matilda However, the reader also learns that Miss Trunchbull may be a murderer.

Indeed, in the chapter entitled "Miss Honey's story", the dialogue between Miss Honey and Matilda clearly expose that hypothesis: Here, the reader is completely able to understand that, in order to cheat Miss Honey out of her inheritance, her aunt might have killed her father. However, these unusual storylines have entertained a lot of children for decades and are still considered very attractive today. Roald Dahl is effectively one of the must-read authors for children and his books continue to be sold all over the world.

In a survey realised in for the International Children's Book Day, the British author was voted by parents and children as their favourite writer of children's literature before J. But how does Dahl manage to attract his reader to his particular world?

A relationship has to be created between these two entities for the book to achieve its goal and function. Indeed, the author creates a narrative by using different techniques: The implied author is thus the 6 The masculine third-person is used to refer to the reader in general. Casulli 28 image a reader creates for an author and the implied reader is the image an author creates for a reader. As a consequence, the implied author and the implied reader are completely different from the real author and the real reader7.

In order to communicate, Roald Dahl's implied author appears to use different techniques and, thus, he manages to create a very special relationship with his child-reader.

He also seems to know what children are seeking in literature and he wants to give them what they are looking for. This awareness of his audience allows him to constructs a very unique relationship with his child-reader and he once even claimed: You find you have to look up at all these bloody giants around you who are always telling you what to do and what not to do" Cooling As revealed before, the thematics Roald Dahl presents in his books are quite disturbing and his stories are easily related to the notion of transgression.

The thematics Roald Dahl deals with are troublesome and have been considered as unacceptable because they explore some notions people prefer to hide to children. Bruno Bettelheim in his very famous work on fairy tales, entitled The Uses of Enchantment, states: Thus, he can easily be seen as a perverse and transgressive writer. All these thematics are often hidden in children's literature but, in his case, these disturbing elements have kept children attracted to his books for more than half a century.

These unsettling elements are not the only things that attract children to Dahl's works. The author's style is also very popular. Indeed, Roald Dahl has a particular writing style that is pleasant for a child because his narratives are easily understandable and clear.

The language he chooses is simple yet effective on a child reader's mind: Moreover, his tone is conversational and funny and a child can easily be attracted to it.

What is also striking about Dahl's style is the way he uses language as entertainment. The author indeed uses a lot of language innovations in his books for children. For instance, he makes up new words, he employs capitalisation and he also invents funny puns to make the child reader active and turns literature into a game.

Vincent Jouve, in L'effet Personnage, distinguishes three types of readers: The latter clearly dives into the book's world and is thus a very active reader. In Roald Dahl's case, the reader is invited to be this kind of reader: In order to do this, the author creates new and funny words and the child reader has to play the game to understand those words. Indeed, Roald Dahl tends to present many harsh thematics that can be disturbing for a child- reader, but thanks to his literary skills, children generally enjoy the author's dark side and they can take pleasure in reading about something parents usually teach their children not to laugh at.

As previously stated, Dahl effectively deals with many serious subjects such as bullying, abuse and death but instead of being shocked, most of his readers are receptive to these thematics because of the author's style. They can take pleasure in reading about it and they can even mock those serious subjects under Dahl's influence. In Dahl's books for children, a lot of readers can be moved to hilarity in cruel situations thanks to his mischievious style and thus they take part in the perversion of the norms the author presents: The third part of this paper will discuss those potential dangers when reading Roald Dahl.

For instance, many insults by the headmistress Miss Trunchbull in Matilda highlights that tendency: You empty headed hamster!

You stupid glob of glue! In all his books, Roald Dahl invents funny words to entertain children and to make them love literature. He thus enriches his books with invented words that sound funny and musical while talking about serious matters.

The author also seems willing to play with words on an onomastic level. Proper names effectively play a prominent role in Dahl's fictions. The choice of his character's name is motivated and, in many of his books, proper names can be interpreted. I always thought that a veruca was a sort of wart that you got on the sole of your foot!

David Rudd, in Roald Dahl, highlights this Dahlian characteristic and explains that, in the same book, Charlie Bucket's name can also be interpreted. He will try to do things his own way and not mine.

Likewise, in Matilda, this process is used to contrast two different characters: Finally, in James, names are also relevant. Indeed, the aunts' names perfectly correspond to the characters' physical appearances: Their names connote the attributes of the things designed by it: In both novels, Roald Dahl shows his reader how to play with words on an onomastic level, and it can be pleasant for children, but it can also be inappropriate for some adults because as Sylvaine Hughes argues: Another attractive trait of Roald Dahl's style is his recurrent use of capitalisation.

Indeed, instead of being monotonous with his writing, Roald Dahl decides to play with letters and their forms, he makes them bigger or bold to attract the child-reader's look and thus break the ennui of the writing.

In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the author uses even larger capitals to suggest a newspaper headline Here, he uses a different typography to entertain the reader because it breaks the visual monotony of a text and gives it a different dynamic.

Dahl takes delight in exploiting the ability of graphic forms to be rearranged to suit the reader's fancy. Dahl's reader can also feel attracted to a very important technique the author uses to stimulate the reading activity: For instance, in Charlie, Roald Dahl introduces the reader to the Bucket family in the present tense and the reader is directly placed in the action, he is in media res: The author is also known for his funny puns. Indeed, in his narratives, Roald Dahl uses many puns to make his child-reader laugh.

This pun permits Willy Wonka to insult Violet Beauregard when she contests and he answers: Roald Dahl obviously thinks that a good book for children is a book that encourages the child- reader to consider the reading activity as a game and that helps him to enjoy literature and the richness of the English language.

All the techniques he uses in his works bring freshness and spontaneity to his fictions and it makes the reader active in his reading activity. Reading is seen as a pleasant activity when reading Roald Dahl because the author inevitably draws the reader in his fictional world and his reader can identify with a character because of that participation.

A proximity with the reader is thus created in Dahl's books and it relies on different elements. First, the point of view with which Roald Dahl chooses to tell his stories is a very influential one.

Indeed, in children's literature, the implied reader is obviously a child who knows how to read or who is being told the story by a relative, and Roald Dahl tends to reinforce the special complicity he creates with a young reader by using the point of view of a child. Indeed, the protagonists of Dahl's books for children are often children and, according to Vincent Jouve, the meeting a reader makes with a character of a book is one of the most attractive traits of a work of fiction: In Boy: Roald Dahl tends to put a child at the centre of his stories and thanks to that, the reader can see or even feel everything the protagonist does.

Effectively, as Vincent Jouve explains in La Lecture, the emotions a reader feels allow him to identify with the character10 The plot or incidents cause the reader to have certain feelings or wishes for the hero. In Dahl's case this identification with the main character of a novel is effortless because of the plot, the narrative voice and the child's perspective adopted by the author.

Each of Dahl's protagonist acts or embodies, in concrete form, some of the same wishes or defenses that a child-reader feels. The narrative techniques mentioned earlier allow for the creation of a narrative voice which that appeals to the reader: In James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the story is told by a third-person omniscient narrator which makes the narrative voice all-knowing, and a child reader can easily trust it.

Tales of Childhood and The Witches, the first person narrative makes the identification even more accessible for a child. For instance, in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Charlie's situation clearly invites the reader to both identify and pity the protagonist. Indeed, Charlie is a poor little boy, almost starving to death and, yet he is a moral boy. Roald Dahl uses many pitiful adjectives to describe Charlie's life so that the reader can feel sorry for him: The reader is also reminded several times throughout the novel that Charlie is a good boy and deserves better: Casulli 35 the other kids who are misbehaving sinners and the reader can pity and also identify with him.

Moreover, the identification with the hero is more likely to be made in Charlie's case because, as Bruno Bettelheim suggests: Matilda and James and the Giant Peach work in the same way: Indeed, Matilda, like Charlie, is a gentle and kind little girl who suffers abuse from her family or headmistress and she simply does not deserve it neither.

James also seems to be a moral character. For instance, he just lost his parents and he is obviously in pain but his aunts neglect and mistreat him. However, despite all this suffering, he remains loyal and good and he even risks his own life to save his friends: The three protagonists thus undoubtedly deserve better because they are good little children and the reader can feel frustrated for them because if the heroes are valuable, the child-reader wants to be valuable too Bettelheim In The Witches, Roald Dahl once again creates a situation to which a child-reader can feel close: However, in this case, the story is told by a first person narrator and this narrative voice makes the identification even more accessible because, as Daniel Delbrassine highligts: The young narrator, by using 'I' and by depicting the witches' cruel behaviour, is likely to be appreciated by the child-reader who can fully understand his helplessness: Oh Lord have mercy on me!

These foul bald-headed females are child- killers every one of them, and here I am imprisoned in the same room and I can't escape! Tales of Childhood, many narrative techniques also allow for this identification. The author obviously uses the first person narrative to tell his story and he also invites the reader to feel sorry for him.

Indeed, the emphasis on the physical pain inflicted is easily noticeable in the book. Roald Dahl gives many unsettling details about the beatings and more generally the humiliation he had to face when he was younger and, thus it is likely to create an empathetic response in the young reader's mind. For instance, he vividly describes the consequences that one beating he endured from his Headmaster, Captain Hardcastle, caused, and that memory is shocking because it is described very violently: I was frightened of that cane.

There is no small boy in the world who wouldn't be. It wasn't simply an instrument for beating you. It was a weapon for wounding. It lacerated the skin. It caused severe black and scarlett bruising that took three weeks to disappear, and all the time during those three weeks, you could feel your heart beating along the wounds.

In his books, the narrative voices and the pitiful situations the protagonists face are likely to create a sympathetic response from the reader who just wants justice for the heroes and thus, a special complicity between the implied reader and the implied author is created. Moreover, Dahl relentlessly uses inclusive pronouns to create this special relationship. We're going to be sick! That narrator is thus trustworthy because he puts himself in league with children. Dahl also catches the reader's attention by directly addressing him in his narratives.

Dahl's voice is loudly present everywhere: The whole first chapter of The Witches is overflowing with calls to his reader: This pattern is also noticeable in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory: By including himself amongst children and by addressing his reader directly, Dahl constructs an influential complicity in many of his books.

Another thing the writer does to establish a complicity with his readers is taking sides. Indeed, Roald Dahl literally places his second self on the side of the children in his stories and thus on the side of the child-reader: Dahl conspires overtly with the child-reader.

A game of 'us against the other, mean adults' is thus conceived and Dahl's treatment of his adult characters is, beyond doubt, revealing of that. Indeed, by putting his child heroes in powerful positions and his adult characters in evil-like positions, Roald Dahl becomes an ally to children against adults. In many of his narratives, the author portrays adults in powerful situations as being cruel, immoral or immature whereas his child heroes as seen as good, loyal and reliable.

Roald Dahl places his fictional young protagonists in a lonely world where adults are evil. He builds a conspiratioral relationship with his child-readers against adults and, as seen before, he claims a special affinity with children, based on his ability to see the world from their point of view.

However, many critics have questioned and continue to question Dahl's works today and, just like Claude Ganiayre suggests, one can easily wonder if that complicity is merely a simple and friendly one or if it is a calculated and manipulative one: And in many of his works, Dahl's humour is often based on physical appearances or bodily functions for instance, he likes to play with the idea of farting or belching to make children laugh easily as Virginie Douglass highlights in L'Univers de Roald Dahl: Roald Dahl clearly employs humour to make his narratives attractive and entertaining for the reader.

Many funny but inapropriate depictions of his characters can be found in his works and although those depictions are cruel because they mock physical flaws, they can make the child-reader laugh.

Indeed, a child-reader is often more receptive to this kind of humour because, as Jackie E. Stallcup explains, at a young age, children may have anxieties concerning their growing body and they can cope with that thanks to jokes about bodies and bodily functions Roald Dahl While many parents teach their children not to judge a book by its cover, Dahl does not hesitate to tell his reader the opposite: In one of his most famous books, the author effectively claims: 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 you can hardly bear to look at it. A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a 11 Cooling, Wendy. The Twits All the villains in his fictions are thus depicted in very negative terms to match their malevolent personality and while a child-reader can easily laugh, an adult-reader would probably be disturbed by such awful depictions.

In Matilda, the physical description of the protagonist's parents allows the reader to portray them as unattractive and unpleasant characters. Probably the most grotesque descriptions are to be found in James and the Giant Peach when the narrator introduces the reader to the aunts' physical appearances in chapter two. Many negative words are used and Roald Dahl clearly caricatures those two characters: Aunt Sponge was enormously fat and very short.

She had small piggy eyes, a sunken mouth, and one of those white flabby faces that looked exactly as though it had been boiled. She was like a great white soggy oberboiled cabbage. Aunt Spiker, on the other end, was lean and tall and bony, and she wore steel-rimmed spectacles that fixed on to the end of her nose with a clip. She had a screeching voice and long wet narrow lips, and whenever she got angry or excivted, little flecks of spit would come shouting out of her mouth as she talked.

They simply look ridiculous. But adults often deplore as tasteless many of Dahl's stories, situations, and jokes that children find humorous and he was often attacked on that subject. As Dominique Iehl argues in Le Grotesque, this notion is often associated with dark humour because: In other words, the grotesque is both repulsive and funny.

And most of Dahl's humour depends on that mixture of disgust and laughter. Indeed, his humour often relies on situations depicting cruelty, digust or abuse but Dahl always makes sure those situations are presented in a comic way. Many cruel situations are exposed in his books such as the punishments in Charlie, the abuses the children in Matilda face, or even the aunt's death in James but while those situations are awful and violent the reader adores reading about it.

Lightness is brought into the text thanks to Dahl's humour: Instead of treating those subjects as serious matters, he discredits them. Without any doubt, children laugh at those things while this bodily function is generally considered as disgusting by adults. Incongruity is also an important characteristic of black humour and it often brings lightness to serious matters. Indeed, incongruity is a device that allows an author to surprise his reader by challenging his expectations.

Incongruity means out of place, and it creates disorder: Roald Dahl relentlessly uses that device in his books and a child-reader would effectively laugh while being surprised. The most striking example is to be found in Miss Trunchbull's personality. Indeed, a child-reader can be disturbed or scared by her attitude because she is a violent person although she should not be because of her profession.

However, the child-reader can, in this case, laugh very hard at the terrible 12 My translation of Fernandez Martin's statement: Casulli 41 things she does.

As previously stated, the headteacher does not do the things she is expected to do: Thanks to his writing style, his complicity with the child-reader and his childish and black humour, Dahl magnifies elements of the perverted.

The author deals with taboo subjects such as abuse, violence or death but he treats those subjects with lightness and that is why, instead of being shocked, many children take pleasure and enjoy those things. In other words, Roald Dahl values derision. Derision means mocking and ridiculing something or someone and, in his books for children, the author endlessly uses that device: Despite the fact that derision is often very negative, with Dahl, the derision is at the same time negative and funny.

Perversion is thus very present in Dahl's word: Even though many children find his books funny, even the most self-assured parent can have doubts concerning the appropriateness of Dahl's books for children. The fact that he tends to link games, humour and lightness to serious issues has become problematic for parents throughout the years as the reader is led to enjoy forms of violence and perverse punishments because of the games of identification and systems of sympathy Dahl sets up. Indeed, many adult readers have not always appreciated how the writer happily makes fun of such important and serious topics and they have been critical towards the fact that most of his humour relies on the discreditation of the adults' world and cruelty.

The story became steadily more and more violent, nauseating and destructive of cherished sentimental stereotypes such as the loving grandmother.

Finally he looked at the book's cover and, instantly his face changed to a beaming smile of understanding and reassured pleasure.

As Mark West suggests in an essay about censorship in children's literature: Even before its actual publication, a book can be subject to censorship pressures.

And that was actually Roald Dahl's case. His ambivalent reception as a children's writer was obvious from the start of his career and many of his books were revised before their publication because Dahl's editors found them to be too violent and perverse for a young audience. But despite their revision, Dahl's books were still seen as unsuitable for children and the author was heavily criticized because many people believed his stories were tainted with outrageous subjects such as racism, mysogyny, sadism or simply vulgarity.

All these subjects were controversial because they were not suitable for children's literature. As suggested earlier in this dissertation, the adult's concerns about some passages may stem from a belief that the child should be shielded and not exposed to such language and content.

Casulli 43 Dahl's probably most controversial book remains Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Cameron's attack was not the only one. For many years, a lot of publishers refused to publish the book, considering it vulgar, and many librarians also found it tasteless and kept it away from their libraries. Probably the most well-known attack came from the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People NAACP in the sixties in the United States just after news confirmed the book was going to be made into a film.

According to Mary Lou Whit: And Roald Dahl's book confirmed this assumption: According to the NAACP, the Oompa-Loompas could be seen as a stereotype of slavery and at that time, black Americans were trying to surmount their dark history and gain civil rights. For them, the book implies black inferiority and white supremacy. Roald Dahl thus decided to change the colour of the Oompa- Loompas and he transformed them into dwarves with green hair and orange skin.

Roald Dahl gave in and both the novel and the film were re-titled. Even today, that famous book is still controversial. Indeed, in , a controversy over a new cover of the book exploded. Created for the 50th anniversary of the children's fiction, it offered an inapropriate over-sexualised image: This new cover confused and appalled many fans, and it was seen as distasteful and creepy.

According to many adult readers, the cover destroyed the spirit of the book and did not represent the story at all In this case, it seems rather ironic to see that publishing world is actually fostering controversy nowadays, whereas in the past, they were trying to tone it down by asking Dahl and his editors to remove certain elements from his work.

The Witches also participated in the controversial status of Roald Dahl in the canon of children's literature. Indeed, this novel is one of the most controversial books in children's literature and it had been censored because it has often irked feminists. The portrayal of a group of female witches whose only goal is to kill children has effectively not been appreciated by women defending their rights. This passage made many feminists and critics, like Catherine Itzin, skeptical about the book: According to them, the novel encourages children to hate and fear women.

Miss Jennifer Honey was a mild and quiet person who never raised her voice and was seldom seen to smile, but there is no doubt she possessed that rare gift for being adored by every small child under her care.

She seemed to understand totally the bewilderment and fear that so often overwhelms young children who for the first time in their lives are herded into a classroom and told to obey orders.

Moreover, those disturbing aspects of Dahl's book were not the only things that created a controversy about the author. Indeed, all the writing techniques mentioned above undeniably make his writing questionable because it seems that he deliberately manipulates his reader and exercices a control14 on him. And that control can clearly be seen as one of the characteristics of a perverse behaviour because, as Saverio Tomasella argues: His fictional world attracts children and his writing techniques entertain them but manipulate them at the same time.

Indeed, the narrative voice and the textual features of his works create a sense of an intimate, yet adult-controlled, relationship between the implied author and the implied child-reader.

That is often the case in children's literature because there is generally an important age difference between the author and the reader. Consequently, the relationship an author for children creates is usually based on authority: And that is probably one of the reasons why adults have disliked Roald Dahl's universe from the beginning: Thanks to the complicity he manages to create with his reader, the child-reader may feel resentments against adults when reading Roald Dahl.

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Indeed, as Ann Alston suggests: Seing a child win over awful adults may, indeed, please a child-reader. Because a child-reader identifies with Dahl's characters, he can clearly feel many pleasures. According to Vincent Jouve, when a reader reads a book, he is curious and is seeking something: This term describes the fact that a reader may take pleasure in a character's powerful position because he can live a character's life and successes by proxy.

The reader experiences situations that would be impossible to fulfill in real life and he can also benefit from them without facing the real potential dangers of those actions.

By reading a book, the reader lives incredible experiences but is distant from them at the same time and can therefore enjoy them without being in danger. A child-reader would effectively be proud and feel relieved to see Matilda playing pranks on her parents because they are mean to her and they deserve it. At the end of chapter 3, the narrative voice even evokes the reader's potential thoughts: Thanks to this libido dominanti, a reader can thus get satisfaction when seeing good characters being rewarded and bad ones being dismissed.

In other words, Dahl's books are subversive: Indeed, while folktales and fairy-tales are the oldest and most widely known form of literature for children, they also have another distinction: And adults may fear that if children enjoy being told that adults are cruel and horrid people, they will eventually discredit them, hate them and rebel. Even though the boundaries around children's literature have always been disputed throughout the years, parents, publishers, teachers or other downloadrs of such books have agreed on what makes a book for children suitable: But in most of Dahl's books, some of those controversial matters are noticable: As Kimberley Reynolds also argues, traditional books for children were generally written to persuade young readers to be what adults, and thus society in general, wanted them to be: As a consequence, adults have often been critical towards Dahl's books because they were the exact opposite of those traditional stories: Thus, some adults fear that children, after reading Roald Dahl's books, would try to do the same.

She explained that her daughter kept reading and re-reading it. That was, and still is, a common reaction to Dahl's books. The final chapter of James and The Giant Peach, for instance, clearly represents James' triumph over his aunts: Because his child protagonists revolt, take control and win over distasteful and hateful adult characters, children love to read about it, but many adults have seen a celebration of bad and rebellious behaviour in Dahl's fictions, and that is one of the main reasons his literary status has been controversial.

Along with James, Matilda is considered to be a children's book that promotes rebellious and criminal behaviour but an even more violent representation of Matilda could also have been published if Dahl's editors were not there to stop the author.

The early draft of Matilda described an evil little girl who liked to torture her parents. Furthermore, the story dealt with inappropriate notions for children such as gambling and cheating. Contrary to the happy end of the final work in which Matilda lives happily ever after with Miss Honey: She was not the only one to be concerned about the genesis of Matilda. Dahl's editors or literary agents who read early versions of his stories had thus many reservations about his books for children and they were amongst the first ones to tell the author if what he was writing was suitable for young readers or not.

Roald Dahl's world could have been more extreme without them and that is rather ironic given the fact that after their publication, those works especially Charlie have been assailed by many people. Moreover, besides being considered as a promotion of rebellious behaviours, Dahl's books were also censored because they were considered as vulgar. Indeed, as mentioned before, children's books should not contain bad words but Roald Dahl's once again disturbed that view of children's literature with his mischievious style that was seen as unsuitable.

For many people, James and The Giant Peach not only encourages children to rebel against authority, but is also contains many bad words. After its first publication in the United States, Ethel L.

Heins, an American librarian, made a severe critique of the book in the Library Journal a very influential publication destined to librarians that deals with the library world in general. And her brutal conclusion about James was: This review was the first taste of what was to become a common type of reaction to Roald Dahl's works.

Many people effectively objected to Dahl's use of bad words in James. Recently, another book by Dahl was banned in Australia for its use of inappropriate language. My Prince! He chops off heads! How could I marry anyone who does that sort of thing for fun? Off with her nut! Despite their vulgarity and the promotion of rebellious behaviour, Dahl's books have been adored by children throughout the years and their success is not to be proved.

The fact that the child heroes succeed in a hateful adult world is one of the reasons of Dahl's success but it is not the only one. As a matter of fact, Jouve argues that a reader is effortlessly fascinated by violent and horrific scenes because he is unconsciously pushed by the two main human drives: Eros the life instinct and Thanatos the death instinct L'Effet-Personnage Thus, the extreme violence of some given texts motivates any reader in his deepest human impulses and drives him to enjoy such cruel texts.

The character of a novel generally becomes a pretext for the reader's deepest unconscious desires who can thus live his primitive instincts linked to money, sex or death. For instance, the violent scenes related in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory are likely to delight a child-reader because he is unconsciously fascinated by horrific scenes and he can even ask for more. Being told that spoiled children are eliminated one by one in brutal ways can thus be pleasurable.

Matilda, James and the Giant Peach and The Witches also rely on that deep fascination for brutality and cruelty.


Dahl's books feature many memorable but amoral moments such as James' cruel aunts being crushed by a giant fruit, Matilda playing pranks on her own wicked parents, or the narrator in The Witches being transformed into an animal. All of these scenes are distasteful, but they obviously delight the child-reader who seeks to please his primitive desires.

Roald Dahl seems to be completely aware of the voyeuristic side of his readers and the fascination for the amoral and 16 http: Here, the narrator is, like the reader, clearly searching to satisfy a terrible but irrepressible desire. Later in the novel, Dahl once again describes how people gleefully take pleasure in seeing others being hurt. When all the witches are punished in a brutal way they are all screaming, running around in distress, and then transformed into mice at the end to the book, the narrator details people's reaction to that violent scene: People were moving closer.

The notion of voyeurism has thus no secrets for Dahl who takes pleasure in saying to his readers that they are not the only ones to feel that guilty pleasure and that it is a normal attitude. The author also evokes that notion many times in Matilda. For instance, when a small boy named Rupert is brutally raised in the air by his ears, his classmates are clearly voyeurs of that severe punishment: None of them had seen anything quite like this before.

Roald Dahl's books invite the reader to take pleasure in evil and the author thus dominates because he manipulates: The child-reader is effectively meant to dislike some characters and enjoy bad situations happening to them. Thanks to Dahl's manipulative narration skills, a child-reader is conveniently perverted: In Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, because the child-reader identifies with Charlie, he wants the other contestants to fail, and he can take pleasure to see them being hurt.

For example, a child-reader may enjoy seeing Veruca Salt being held by angry squirrels and pushed down the garbage chute because she has been misbehaving throughout the novel. The narrative strategies, oriented to create an identification, allow the reader to feel happy when the other children are punished for their sins.

However, Dahl's readers would have been even more pleased if the early draft of this book would have been published. This chapter was found in the deceased author's papers and it was supposed to be the fifth chapter of the children's fiction. Despite the fact that the author does not clearly say it, the characters in this chapter have probably been killed. The fact that it was not published clearly shows a form of censorship in the initial stages of the book and it obviously indicates many reservations about Dahl's aesthetics from the beginning.

What many young readers read today is a version of what could have been a more violent representation of the famous children's story. The same process of identification and pleasure can also be noticed in Matilda, for instance when the awful head-mistress is corrected at the end.

Here again, because he identifies with the heroin, the child- reader is also invited to feel overjoyed at this moment although someone's life is at stake. Besides, when Matilda decides to take revenge on her parents, who have been abusing her throughout the story, she does many immoral things. For instance, page 30, Matilda acts in a harmful way by putting superglue inside her father's hat. As a consequence, she hurts her father because his skin could be taken off if he tries to remove his hat.

Later, the heroin, once again, acts in a dishonest way when she fools her parents and makes them believe a ghost is haunting the house: Matilda said. I've heard it here before! This room is haunted! Matilda lies and tricks her parents but a child-reader is curiously invited to laugh and take delight in that situation because he has, narratively speaking, been manipulated and because his primitive instincts drive him to like those amoral situations.

In James and the Giant Peach, the narrative techniques, as discussed earlier, also invites the reader to identify with the hero.

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In the novel, two bad characters are killed but still, the child- reader obviously feels satisfied. Indeed, as previously stated, the two horrid aunts are killed by the peach, and James escapes with his new friends. In this situation, even though the child-reader witnesses two deaths, he nevertheless takes delight because of the morbid fascination he feels when reading, and because the hero is finally free and can live peacefully. The Witches works in the same way.

Here, there is an obvious satisfaction the child-reader gets because, the hero wins and defeats his enemies. The reader has been manipulated to feel that contentment and he enjoys seeing bad people being violently reprimanded. Here, the two forms of libido Vincent Jouve identifies are thus combined: The complicity Dahl creates with his reader can thus be a dangerous one because, a child-reader can easily laugh at awful situations and he can also take delight in seeing those situations.

Dahl's success is to be found in his ability to invoke affective and compulsive reading investments. Indeed, the child-reader's primitive instincts are convoked and they push him to feel great pleasure in seeing others being hurt. Dahl's literary skills and manipulation leads a child- reader to enjoy many evil passages in his stories.

The author's books clearly remain popular with children today, and they also have, in recent years, found a firm foothold in schools. Despite Dahl's controversial literary status, adults, as well as teachers or librarians have been aware of their popularity with children.

Undoubtedly, Roald Dahl's fictions for children divide opinions: However, the notion of suitable children's literature has always been disputed throughout the years and nobody has managed to come to an agreement on what is and what is not suitable for children.

Indeed, dark themes abound in Dahl's fictions for young readers and many people disagree on whether such dark literature is appropriate for children. The notion of "perversion" is thus clearly present in his fictional world as the author distorts many things by making them funny and corrupts his readers by making him enjoy distasteful things such as violence or death.

The view of society revealed through his books--his implied criticism of adults and his contempt for social institutions--has made his works popular with adolescents. This same view has brought mixed reactions from critics. The variety of audiences that Dahl successfully wrote for throughout his career demonstrates his ability to appeal to specific groups of readers. Ironically, Roald Dahl wrote extensively for adults and children before he attempted to write books for young adults.

His writing career began when Cecil Scott Forester interviewed him for the Saturday Evening Post and submitted Dahl's fictionalized account of his adventures in the Royal Air Force to the newspaper Pendergast.

In , Dahl wrote his first children's story, The Gremlins, for Walt Disney, who wanted to make it into a film. Although it was never produced, Disney later published the story, complete with Disney's illustrations West. After The Gremlins, Dahl left the field of children's literature and began writing short stories for adults. Although they were "generally macabre in nature, his stories won praise for their vivid details, carefully constructed plots, and surprise endings" West.

However, when he began to have difficulty coming up with new plots, Dahl decided to return to writing children's books. His first novel was James and the Giant Peach , and his last was The Vicar of Nibbleswicke, published posthumously in Bulaong.

Dahl emphasized the importance of children's authors having experience with children when he noted, "Had I not had children of my own, I would have never written books for children, nor would I have been capable of doing so" Howard.

Dahl's first attempt at the young adult market was in , with a collection of two autobiographical pieces, one essay, and four short stories, entitled The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six Others. This work was viewed by critics as more appropriate for adults, because only two stories had young characters; therefore, the book was not especially successful West.

How many books did Roald Dahl write?

These books are able to speak to young adolescent readers because the protagonists, in spite of their ages, are at stages in their psychosocial development similar to the readers. Erik Erikson, who studied under Sigmund Freud, said that young people between the ages of 12 to 18 experience the psychosocial crisis of "identity versus role confusion" Slavin.

During this stage, the task of adolescents is to establish themselves as independent and self-reliant individuals Slavin. Each of the protagonists in Dahl's books for intermediate readers illustrates the capacity of young people to accomplish great things, and to exhibit an independent spirit.

Fortunately for Sophie, the BFG is not interested in eating humans, as are the other nine inhabitants of Giant Country.

Outraged by the other giants' disgusting eating habits, Sophie and the BFG develop a plot, which involves the heads of the Army and Air Force as well as the Queen of England, to stop the giants from eating children around the world. In Dahl's second work, The Witches, the main character is seven years old. His Norwegian grandmother, a retired witchophile, becomes his guardian upon the death of his parents. A short time later, when the two are vacationing in Bournemouth, England, the boy accidentally observes the Annual Meeting of the witches in England, and is turned into a mouse by The Grand High Witch.

He manages to escape, and enlists the help of his indomitable grandmother to stop the witches' evil plot to kill all of the children in England in a very creative manner.

The title character in Matilda is a five-year-old child genius whose corrupt parents are practically oblivious to her existence.

When she begins to attend school she encounters Miss Honey, her quiet and lovable teacher. She also meets Miss Trunchbull, the headmistress, an ex-Olympic hammer thrower who continues to practice with children. She then develops a plan to use her power to get rid of Miss Trunchbull for good, and to rectify the wrongs done to Miss Honey. These three books, with their young heroes and heroines, are major contributions to the young adult market, due to the high level of commonality that Roald Dahl's protagonists share with the readers.

Dahl's View of the World- and Its Place in his Books Several occurrences in Dahl's life can be connected to emerging values seen in his literature for adolescents.

From very early in life, he was isolated from society because his mother, who was Norwegian, did not feel comfortable in English society after the death of his father West. 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".This is Ms.

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. Indeed, Roald Dahl tends to present many harsh thematics that can be disturbing for a child- reader, but thanks to his literary skills, children generally enjoy the author's dark side and they can take pleasure in reading about something parents usually teach their children not to laugh at.

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. The violence of Charlie's struggle to survive is obvious in the first pages.