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

Essay by finalsfreakingout21University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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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 effect on his life.

There was a great deal tragedy that occurred in Dahl's family while he was growing up, and while he was a parent as well.

It all began when his sister Astri died of appendicitis in 1920. A few months later, his father, Harald Dahl, quickly deteriorated and died of pneumonia. Pneumonia was treatable, but only if the patient was willing to fight to stay alive. Roald felt that his father's death was due to the lack of love he felt for his life, and in effect, a lack of love for his only son. However the sudden death of his daughter left him "speechless for days afterwards" (Boy, 20). Most people believed that Harald died of a broken heart (Boy Going Solo, 1). While in school, he suffered much cruelty from authority figures and older kids in his school. His school career began in Llandaff Cathedral School, then on to St. Peters, and finally ended up at Repton. Dahl generally depicts at least one...