Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Dahl's Childhood: An Overview

Dahl's Childhood played a phenomenal part in his writing, drawing influences for characters or wonderful ideas from his own life. Many ideas come from the tales his mother use to tell him from her Norweign folk stories, as well as his childhood hate for teachers, rules and punishments. 

Tales such as Matilda, the BFG, the Witches and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory are written from a child's perspective and portray adults as the Villans.

Photo Courtesy of the Reading Project
Dahl's childhood experiences formed the tales behind Boy: Tales of 
Childhood (1984).
Photo Courtesy of The Telegraph
An exert from Boy details The Great Mouse Plot of 1924.
Aged Seven, when Dahl attened Llandaff Cathedral School in Cardiff, he and his friends had a grudge against the local sweet-shop owner, Mrs. Pratchett. Mrs Pratchett was a sour, elderly widow who gave no thought to hygiene. They played a prank on her by placing a dead mouse in a gobstopper jar. They were caned by the headmaster as a punishment, while Mrs. Pratchett watched, laughing and encouraging him to cane them harder.

Aged 13, Dahl moved to Repton School in Derybshire. Having had the choice between Marlborough and Repton, Dahl choose Repton because it was easier to pronounce. 
At Repton the boys were delivered sweets and tasters from the Cadbury factory. The weekly deliveries inspired Young Dahl to dream of working as an inventor for Cadbury. An idea he has said later bore Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. 

Image Courtesy of weheartit.com

While Dahl hardly excelled as a student, his mother offered to pay for his tuition at Oxford or Cambridge University when he graduated. Dahl's response, as quoted from his autobiography, Boy: Tales of Childhood, was, 

"No thank you. I want to go straight from school to work for a company that will send me to wonderful faraway places like Africa or China." - Roald Dahl

Photo Courtesy of The Telegraph

Dahl's childhood was sprinkled with sadness as both his elder sister and father died when Dahl was three years old. His family remained in England to receive a British education- arguably the time that fueled Dahl's imagination the most. 

The wondrous childhood of Roald Dahl shaped the stories we now treasure.

After his education, Roald Dahl joined the war effort, but what exactly did this extra ordinary man do?