SJ Loria's Reviews > The BFG

The BFG by Roald Dahl
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Dec 23, 2011

it was amazing
Read in December, 2011

I just finished BFG, a classic children’s story. It’s well loved and well written, question is, why and what’s the moral? What message does this story tell? Every story is a plot, sure, and that’s the surface, but tucked below is the real story, the real meaning. The one that touches the eternal questions. What is interesting about children’s literature is doing this in a way that kids can read and laugh to while they read. I admire Hesse for his ability to speak of the eternal questions with profound elegance, but he’s explaining to adults. How do you explore the eternal questions with 10 year olds?

By telling a story such as this. I think there are two main moral pillars that this story rests upon – empathy and courage. The first message is to emphasize with those who have an idea but have trouble articulating it, or those who look different, talk different, come from other circumstances. The second message is courage – courage to take on a challenge that is (literally) larger than life, courage to defend others, courage to risk your own neck in the pursuit of what you feel is right, courage to sacrifice your own desires to the good of the group. There are countless other questions explored (the legitimacy of laws, empathy beyond humans, the importance of not jumping to conclusions about a person’s character based on their appearance, rich people possibly using poor people, the wonder of imagination and believing in what you cannot see) but those are the two main messages.

What I love about children’s literature is that it addresses the eternal questions at a time where pretty much every little human being is receptive to thinking about it. By the time you decide to major in finance and head to Wall St. it’s too late, we lost you, but when you’re at about age 10 and your cerebral cortex is firing and you’re starting to wonder why certain people get bullied and why that guy talks funny, please read this. It’s a great book.

I wonder what kind of audience this is best for. I think probably 3-4th grade both genders. You’ve got a female protagonist hero which is a plus, but you’ve got giants who fart which hooks the boys too. Now, what kinds of kids? Just as an example, My Side of the Mountain is perfect for boys who love exploring outside. The BFG is perfect for kids who are picked on for being “different,” specifically special education or “English language learners” who in Arizona are instructed in segregated classrooms…and my my my look who just got qualified to be their teacher. Muhahaha! The BFG also struggles with language, but he’s got a big heart, big ideas and in the end, he is able to articulate them. It gives hope and it stirs the mind. And for that, my hat is off to you Mr. Dahl. Just don’t tell Sheriff Joe on me.

“I is a very mixed up Giant,” the Giant said. “But I does do my best.” 29
[If people find him] People would be coming rushing and bushing after me with goodness knows what and they would be catching me and locking me into a cage to be stared at. 31
“I’m not quite sure I quite know what that mean,” Sophie said.
“Meanings is not important,” said the BFG. “I cannot be right all the time. Quite often I is left instead of right.” 34
“Yesterday,” he said, “we was not believing in giants, was we? Today we is not believing in snozzcumbers. Just because we happen to have actually seen something with our own two little winkles, we think it is not existing. 48
“Words,” he said, “is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life. So you must simply try to be patient and stop squibbling. As I am telling you before, I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiff-squiddled around.”
“That happens to everyone,” Sophie said.
“Not like it happens to me,” the BFG said. “I is speaking the most terrible wigglish.”
“I think you speak beautifully,” Sophie said suddenly.
“Well, that is the nicest present anybody is every giving me in my whole life!” cried the BFG. “Are ou sure you is not twiddling my leg.” 53
“Human beans is the only animals that is killing their own kind.” 78
“And sometimes human beans is very overcome when they is hearing wondrous music. They is getting shivers down their spindels. Right or left?”
“Right,” Sophie said.
“So the music is saying something to them. It is sending a message. I do not think the human beans is knowing what the message is, but they is loving it just the same.” 98

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