What Can Roald Dahl Teach You


The best titles in Children's literature were hilarious or odd. Roald Dahl's were both.

Dahl was of Norwegian descent. His memories of school were no different from Matilda Wormwood's. He served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. All of these would appear on the pages of his stories, many of which considered as classics. Not a few became guarded of Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt, and Mike Teavee. This feeling was momentary, after they read Dahl's other books, learning that most kids weren't like them.

A wicked sense of humor was a trademark in Dahl's tales, which wouldn't be for everyone's taste. ("My dear Earthworm, you're going to be eaten anyway, so what difference does it make whether it's sharks or seagulls?") An open mind would be required, as there were lots to learn from his works. In fact, everything you needed to know about writing - and life - could be found in those pages. Here are seven:

1. Anything could be a good story. As any good writer would attest, imagination was the only thing needed to come up with a good storyline. J.R.R. Tolkien would vouch for that, as his High-fantasy novels were based from his own life. In Dahl's case, a fairy-tale approach would turn a dreary existence into something magical.

2. Don't be too serious. Some of Dahl's antagonists were mean. Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker were on the top of the list. ("The were selfish and lazy and cruel, and right from the beginning they started beating poor James for almost no reasons at all.") If not for his humor, then they would turn off young readers. Such approach could be seen as how Dahl looked at his past.

3. Kids rule. A children's book wouldn't be called one without a kid in the lead. Most of Dahl's main characters were young, some of which have won the readers' heart. Like the youngsters in Charles Dickens's novels, they would overcome the odds, as they searched for a place they would call home.

4. And so do animals. James Henry Trotter's life would have been miserable if not for the Centipede, the Earthworm, the Old Green Grasshopper, the Ladybug, Miss Spider, the Glowworm, and the Silkworm. They would be the life of "James and the Giant Peach", never failing to amuse readers. There were more, tens of tortoises in particular, who would bring two lonely hearts together. This was the premise behind "Esio Trot".

5. Don't forget the world out there. Children couldn't help being curious. In "James and the Giant Peach", James thought that the land beyond the hill, where he lived with his aunts, was like a magic carpet. Matilda also felt the same. Their case was rather unique, but the message was loud and clear.

6. Blood is thicker than water. Dahl's children were looking for affection, thus a home where they would be loved. But they find it in unexpected places. (Charlie in a chocolate factory, James in a gigantic peach, and Matilda in Miss Honey.)

7. It pays to be good. Charlie Bucket didn't have a clue that he would outlived Augustus, Violet, Veruca, and Mike inside the chocolate factory. The child least expected to get a ticket would end up as the winner. Good guys do come first.


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