A Biography of Roald Dahl: Common Themes in His Writings And How They Are Reflective of Childhood Experiences.

2062 WordsApr 10, 20049 Pages
Roald Dahl's life was almost as fantastic as his books. Dahl's patterns in his life are much like the patterns in his novels. He made a clear connection with the tragedies that his characters are faced with. One theme that is apparent in most of Dahl's work is the use of cruelty by authority figures on the weak and powerless. Dahl with humor turns this cruelty to be more of a positive, amusing aspect, rather than a negative traumatizing one that he himself was forced to overcome. Tragedy in the family, negativity towards figures of authority, orphans, and absent parental figures are among many of the intertwined themes in his novels. Whether positive or negative, at least one character in each of his novels mimics one person who had an…show more content…
The Trunchbull can be compared to Captain Hardcastle, Dahl's own headmaster. Hardcastle would tell Roald things like, 'I always knew you were a liar! And a cheat as well!' (Boy, 115). Matilda had a similar experience when she was accused of putting the newt into the Trunchbull's drinking glass and is called a"...filthy little maggot!" and a "...vile, repulsive, repellent, malicious little brute" (Matilda, 161-162). Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, Matilda's parents, were much like Dahl's authority figures, in that, being blinded by their own corruption and laziness, never realized their child's genius abilities. Mr. Wormwood was a crook, who used deceitful tactics in selling secondhand cars. "All I do is mix a lot of saw dust with oil in the gear-box and it runs as sweet as a nut...long enough for the buyer to get a good distance," he would remark. When Matilda was confronting her father about his dirty money, he responds, "who the heck do you think you are...the Archbishop of Canterbury or something, preaching to me about honesty" (Matilda, 25). In Dahl's experience as a child, the Archbishop of Canterbury was "the man who used to deliver the most vicious beatings to the boys under his care" (Boy, 144). Dahl uses goes as far as pointing out that the Archbishop of Canterbury, being a dishonest person, couldn't even preach honesty to Mr. Wormwood. Unlike, Matilda, Dahl never had a rescuer. Miss

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