September 13, 1916, was the day Harald and Sofie D Essay Example
September 13, 1916, was the day Harald and Sofie D Essay Example

September 13, 1916, was the day Harald and Sofie D Essay Example

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  • Pages: 7 (1842 words)
  • Published: December 19, 2018
  • Type: Essay
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In Wales, ahl, two immigrants from Norway, had a son named Roald. Roald was believed to have a strong appreciation for beauty even before he was born, thanks to his father, Harald Dahl, who was a successful ship broker in Cardiff and had a great aesthetic sense. Harald wanted to instill this sense of beauty in his children, so he encouraged his wife to take long walks on the most beautiful trails in the Welsh countryside while she was pregnant. He hoped that the magnificence of nature would impact the unborn child's brain. (Dahl, Boy 18-19).

The death of Harald Dahl had a profound impact on Roald when he was just four years old. Despite his young age, Dahl stated that losing his father marked the end of his happy childhood days (Treglown 5). Throughout his adult life, he sought a paternal figure t


o fill the void left by his absent father during his youth (20). While mourning the loss of her husband, Sofie Dahl was determined to create a stable foundation for her children and chose not to return to Norway with her parents, instead remaining in Wales (Howard 1). Although she did ensure that her children embraced their Norwegian roots by immersing them in Scandinavian customs and teaching them the language of Norway, this contributed to Dahl's detached attitude towards England and the feelings of isolation he experienced throughout his life, according to Mark West (2). Despite the impact of his Norwegian upbringing on his future, Dahl wrote lovingly in Boy about spending idyllic summers with his mother and sisters visiting his grandparents in Norway (53-74). He described these summer holidays as magica

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and joyful (Dahl, Boy 53). Despite the enjoyable nature of these visits and their ability to alleviate Sofie's grief, she always regretted that her son could not have a father.Despite her limited ability to improve the situation, her main task was fulfilling her husband's dying wish of sending their children to what he believed were the top English public schools in the world (Howard 1). As a result, Dahl began his formal schooling at the age of six, while still continuing the yearly trips to Norway.

The process of the boy's civilization started at Elmtree House, a school in Llandaff where the Dahls relocated after Harald's death. This institution was Welsh, not English, as Sofie Dahl didn't feel ready to move to England with her young children. After a year at Elmtree House, Dahl's mother decided it was time for him to attend a "proper boy's school" and enrolled him at Llandaff Cathedral School, a preparatory school affiliated with Llandaff cathedral, when he was seven years old.

Dahl's time at Llandaff would have been uneventful if not for the candy shop on his way to and from school. Each day, he and his friends would stop at the shop, considering it as important as a bar to a drunk or a church to a Bishop. However, their candy-filled days came to an end with the Great Mouse Plot. Dahl took pride in creating the practical joke where they placed a dead mouse in a jar of Gobstoppers to scare Mrs. Pratchett, the unruly owner of the shop. Mrs. Pratchett reported them to Mr. Coombes, the headmaster, who punished them by giving each of them four whacks with

a cane on their rear. Mrs. Pratchett enjoyed seeing this punishment unfold. This incident marked Dahl's first negative encounter with adults, leading Sofie Dahl to remove him from Llandaff and enroll him in St. Peter's, an all-boys boarding school in England.

During his time at St.Peter's, Dahl experienced intense homesickness as it was his first prolonged separation from his family. To try and return home, he devised a plan to feign appendicitis, inspired by his sister's recent illness. However, the family doctor saw through Dahl's scheme and sent him back to St.Peter's to complete the term. Despite enduring hardship and mistreatment from the headmaster, matron, and other faculty members, Dahl persevered and finished the semester. He ended up spending an additional four years at the boarding school.

One particularly cruel incident occurred during this time when Dahl's Latin teacher, Captain Hardcastle, falsely accused him of something. This accusation led to Dahl being caned by the headmaster and taught him a harsh lesson about injustice. Despite these challenges, Mrs. O'Connor provided solace for Dahl during her Saturday visits. It was during one of these visits at thirteen years old that she sparked his lifelong passion for literature.

After graduating from St.Peter's, Dahl moved on to Repton - a well-regarded public school for boys in the Midlands. Unfortunately, he found the administration there even more heartless than that of St.Peter's.Despite the gloomy atmosphere, Dahl managed to forge strong friendships while attending Repton.One such friend was Michael Arnold who Jeremy Treglown described as an "individualist attention-seeking conservative anarchic" young man.Dahl found Arnold's rebellious nature intriguingArnold also shared with Dahl a detailed description of the flogging technique employed by the headmaster at

Repton, an experience Dahl himself did not undergo. During the punishment, the headmaster would smoke his pipe and lecture the victim about sin while administering blows with a cane. Afterward, he would offer a sponge and basin of water for the victim to clean up their own blood.

At Repton, one of the enjoyable activities was taste-testing sessions organized by Cadbury chocolate company. A representative from the company would bring boxes containing new chocolate varieties for evaluation by the boys. This sparked Dahl's lifelong addiction to chocolate.

After leaving behind his childhood and days filled with indulging in chocolate at eighteen years old, Dahl secured employment with Shell Oil company following his graduation from Repton. This eventually led him to join the Royal Air Force. Following his harrowing experience of being shot down in the desert during World War II, Dahl turned to writing short stories professionally after publishing one in the Saturday Evening Post.

Critics accused him of reusing plot elements, prompting him to venture into children's literature. He attributes his inspiration for this shift to writing for children to his own kids. In 1961, he published James and The Giant Peach which received both praise and criticism for its depiction of adults. The aunts depicted in the story were described as "grotesque" and portrayed as selfish, lazy, and cruel.Dahl's stories reflect his distrust of adults, as mistreated children finding happiness by escaping oppressive adults is a prevalent theme. The loner prevailing over the group is also evident in both James and Dahl's books. Growing up as his mother's only son made Dahl both the center of attention and lonely, influencing his perspective as an outsider who

distrusts authority and social processes. This mirrors his own experiences rebelling against school administration at Repton. Similarly to James, Dahl faced criticism for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" allegedly catering to children's sadistic tendencies. Eleanor Cameron accused him of finding humor in Charlie's companions' misfortune in the chocolate factory. In defense, Dahl explained that he understood how cruel children could be due to firsthand knowledge from being tormented and tormenting others during his school days based on factors like height, names, and academic failures - ironically similar things they would tease him about. Another similarity between Charlie and James is introducing the essential relationship between a child and a mentor or single parent that becomes prevalent in Dahl's books; Grandpa Joe serves as Charlie's mentor figure.The relationship between children and mentors in Dahl's books, including Charlie and Grandpa Joe, is openly affectionate and demonstrates a strong bond (West 78). When Charlie is around, Grandpa Joe regains his youthful spirit and becomes as eager and excited as a young boy (Dahl, Charlie 13). Dahl had a close relationship with his own mentor during his childhood - his mother. She was the primary influence in his life, acting as the matriarch around whom her children revolved like planets around a sun (Treglown 16). In addition to the origins of relationships in Charlie, other inspirations for the story can be found in Dahl's memories of Cadbury tastings at Repton. These experiences sparked fantasies of a white laboratory filled with people monitoring pots of boiling chocolate and discovering the most perfect-tasting chocolate that would be wildly successful (Boy 148-149). From 1966 to 1982, Dahl continued to explore these childhood

fantasies and recurring themes in books such as The Magic Finger, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Danny, the Champion of the World, and The BFG. However, he took a departure from his usual storytelling style in 1983 with The Witches by drawing inspiration from his past experiences in Norway.The descriptions of the evil women in the story were influenced by the legends about witches he heard from his mother and grandmother during his childhood. The narrator's descriptions, on the other hand, were based on Dahl's personal experiences in Norway. This semi-autobiographical nature is evident at the beginning of the tale where the narrator explains his Norwegian heritage but being born and attending an English school due to his father's business. The story also incorporates three of Dahl's recurring themes: the relationship between the narrator and his grandmother fulfilling the child/mentor requirement, and the boy overcoming the witches on his own representing two other themes.

Published in 1988 as Dahl's final book, Matilda closely follows these themes as well. However, there are similarities between Matilda and The Witches. Dahl takes on a larger role in Matilda through the character of Matilda herself, who is a repressed intellectual. She shares Dahl's love for practical jokes early in life (Dahl, Boy 127-132) and experiences mistreatment from a cruel headmaster who lacks sensitivity.

The Trunchbull is considered to be a representation of a matron in Dahl's dormitory at St.Peter's who was known for her unusual and merciless punishments towards boys. The description of Trunchbull perfectly aligns with this matron - she is a formidable female with incredible strength allowing her to bend iron bars and tear telephone directories in half.
The description of the

Trunchbull in Matilda, with her obstinate chin, cruel mouth, and small arrogant eyes, gives readers a clear understanding of her personality. Roald Dahl's passing on November 23, 1990 left behind a lasting legacy in children's literature that continues to influence multiple generations of readers. According to Kristine Howard's biography, Dahl believed that children enjoyed being spooked and had a love for chocolate, toys, money, and laughter. Through his stories, Dahl shares his own childhood experiences to help us comprehend how his upbringing shaped his work and impacted both children and adults alike. Some of Dahl's notable works include "Boy: Tales of Childhood," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "James and the Giant Peach," "Matilda," and "The Witches" (Dahl). As reported by William H. Honan from The New York Times, Dahl enchanted children with his bestselling books before he passed away at the age of 74 (Honan).

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