Roald Dahl Fans.com

Student Help

Need homework help? You’ve come to the right place! We have lots of ideas and resources listed below. But please note:

  • We will not do your homework for you.
  • We won’t send you information you can easily find on this site or elsewhere on the Internet
  • We won’t send you electronic copies of Dahl’s books. We don’t have them, and that would be illegal anyway.

Help Topics


What should I write about?

Okay, this is going to take some creativity on your part. Roald Dahl is such a popular author that a lot of other people probably want to write about him too. You should make your project STAND OUT! Here are some ideas to get you going:

For younger students:

  • What makes Roald Dahl books different from other authors’? What makes you like them better? Is it the plot (the action and story)? Is it the characters? Or is it the way he writes? Use examples from as many different Dahl books as you can.
  • In both Danny the Champion of the World and The Witches, the main characters are children with intense ties to a single parent/grandparent. Roald Dahl himself was raised by just his mother and they had a very special relationship his entire life. Do you have any relationships like this in your life? How do you think it affected him and the characters he writes about?
  • Roald Dahl has written about traditional fairy tale characters like witches and giants in his books The Witches and The BFG. How are his monsters different from the monsters in other children’s books? Are his more realistic? Does that make them more scary?

For older students:

  • Explore the theme of “orphans” (or at least “absent parental figures”) as it appears in Dahl stories. Examples: Sophie in The BFG, the narrator in The Witches, James in James and the Giant Peach, George in George’s Marvelous Medicine, and Matilda (who might as well be an orphan) in Matilda.
  • Explore the theme of bullies and bullying as it appears in Dahl stories. Examples: Matilda, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, and George’s Marvelous Medicine.
  • Explore the use of violence in Dahl stories. Do you think they are too violent? Many of his books are still banned in schools and rejected by librarians. Back up your opinion with examples from The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  • Other possible themes to explore in Dahl’s short stories: brutality and odd jobs.

Additional topics for mature scholars:

  • Dahl was accused of racism and anti-Semitism several times throughout his career. Do you feel such claims are valid? If so, does that negate his books’ other merits? I recommend you read Treglown’s Dahl biography or Sturrock’s biography, along with Barry Farrell’s Pat and Roald and Patricia Neal’s As I Am. There are also some interesting letters and articles at The New York Times Book Review.
  • Research the “short story” and Dahl’s place within the genre. Some critics argue that he is one of the best to ever attempt it, while others claim his stories relied too much on grotesque characters and “trick” endings. Do you agree? Which stories seem to work the best for you? Why? Cite as many examples as you can.
  • Compare and contrast Dahl’s writing in his two genres. How is it possible for the same author to write some of the most beloved children’s books of all time as well as dozens of macabre (and often racy) short stories? Does his style of writing change depending upon the audience? Do you prefer one genre over the other? Why?

Where can I get information?

Actual Dahl Books:

As always, the best place to check is your local library. Don’t forget to check both the children’s and the adult sections! (Dahl is often located in both.) If you want to buy Dahl books for yourself, nearly any good bookshop will have recent editions of his material. Use the resources below if you’re not sure which book you’re looking for or if you’d like to order Dahl books on the Web:

  • Books – All the information I could find for just about every Dahl book.
  • Short Stories – Information and summaries for all of Dahl’s stories.
  • Where to Buy – Locate both rare and contemporary editions of Dahl books and order them for your own collection!

Biographies:

  • My Dahl Biography – Okay, okay… So it isn’t *quite* finished yet. It’s a good start though, if you want to get a basic idea of the events in Dahl’s life without running to the library.
  • Biographies – Links to all of the books I can find that have been written about Dahl.
  • Wikipedia  – Good general overview of Dahl’s life and work.

Criticism/Analysis:

This is all I’ve managed to find on the Web and in libraries, but if you find anymore please let me know:

  • Criticism and Analysis – Links to books and essays of criticism and scholarly analysis.
  • New York Times Book Review – You have to register, but it’s free. Search for “Roald Dahl” and you should find some interesting articles and letters.

Where can I read Dahl stories on the Internet?

You can’t. Roald Dahl’s books are all still protected by copyright. You’ll have to buy them or borrow them from a library.

How should I cite materials from your website?

Well, it depends on what you’re citing, really. The Modern Language Association has come up with a few formats for electronic texts but you’ll probably have to modify them to fit your needs. The generic model seems to be:

Author(s). RoaldDahlFans.com. Date of Posting/Revision. Date of Access. <http://www.roalddahlfans.com>.

For the author, you should list either me (Kristine Howard) or whoever wrote the specific piece you’re quoting. The date of posting/revision is usually listed on the page, but if you can’t find it write me and I’ll let you know. The date of access is the date you visited the page. And don’t forget, for the address you should include the entire path to the page you’re quoting.