from The BFGUpload your character
‘Just because we happen not to have actually seen something with our own two little winkles, we think it is not existing’
The BFG is a story which tells the truth, or at least the truth as an imaginative and inquisitive young person would believe it to be. After all, people come in so many different sizes that it’s obvious that there must be giants somewhere. Every child has had enough dreams to know that they’re not all nice, and has probably wondered about where those dreams come from. And of course it must be true that if you have massive ears you’d be able to hear things which people with normal ears cannot.
Roald Dahl tapped into those obvious truths of childhood, using them to create fantastical worlds that somehow feel familiar. Part of that comfort comes from the fact that Dahl doesn’t talk down to his readers, but instead sits next to them and looks at the world alongside them. He never pretends that the world isn’t sometimes scary, indeed in this world children are snatched through their windows by giants and eaten (the people from Panama taste of hats). Yet despite this fearsome premise this world is still clearly ours, and therefore not really scary at all.
If all Roald Dahl’s stories tell the truth, then I suppose The BFG tells the truth about dreams…
…Good dreams like whizzpopping so hard you can fly…
…Bad dreams like giants crunching your bones…
…And special dreams mixed just for the Queen.
This story takes you on a journey from a quiet window in the witching hour to a cave containing 50,000 dreams, then on to Buckingham Palace for breakfast and beyond. Along the way Dahl revels in the simple joys of life, like the fabulous whizzpopping scene in which they share a fizzy drink with bubbles that go down instead of up, with all the consequences you can expect from an author who understands his audience this well.
But he also prompts us to reflect on our world. When talking about how horrid it is that giants eat human beings, the BFG shares another true thing with Sophie:
‘Do not forget,’ the BFG said, ‘that human beans is disappearing everywhere all the even without the giants is guzzling them up. Human beans is killing each other much quicker than giants doing it’… ‘Human beans is the only animals that is killing their own kind.’
When I was a young The BFG helped me understand that the world is more than what I can see. Today this is still a superb story for people who ask awkward questions and sometimes have bad dreams. It’s also for people who want to save the world with the help of the Queen.
In truth it’s actually for everyone. So give it a read and see what it means to you.
‘Meanings is not important’ said the BFG. ‘I cannot be right all the time. Quite often I is left instead of right.’
Back to gallery
The 26 writing group has worked with The Story Museum as part of its 26 Characters exhibition. The group have produced a collection of poems, and couldn’t resist being part of the gallery of favourite characters.