Roald Dahl is loved by adults and children alike. His beloved novels enticed us in chocolate worlds as well as talking animals and flying peaches that ignited the imagination of generations. Here are 10 instances where that he inspired us.
1. He reminded us of the importance of studying
“So Matilda’s brilliant young mind grew and develop, aided by the voices of the authors who sent their works out to the world as ships in the ocean. These books provided Matilda the hope and comforting message: you aren’t all on your own.” -” Roald Dahl Matilda
Dahl was a devoted reader who was terrified of children ignoring the pleasure of reading despite all the entertainment options television could provide. This is evident more than in his work of the square-eyed Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory an angry, violent seven-year-old fan of television who suffers a tragic fate by the fate of the Willy Woonka’s Oompa Loompas.
Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll were among Dahl’s favorite writers. When he spoke to Puffin Books, he cited Midshipman Easyby Frederick Marryat as his most loved novel.
2. He stood up for his beliefs,
Roald Dahl was married American actor Patricia Neal for 30 years The couple had five children. The tragedy struck in the year 1962 when his youngest daughter Olivia suffered from measles encephalitis, and passed away. She was only seven years old. Olivia’s passing profoundly affected the writer. Neal stated that his pain was so overwhelming that he was unable to ever speak about her passing. It made Neal “limp with despair”.
Disappointed that he could take no action to save his oldest child (immunisations weren’t available), Dahl became a prominent advocate for immunisation in later his life. In 1986, nearly 24 years after her demise, Dahl spoke out about the tragic incident through an open-letter, titled “Measles: A deadly disease’.
“There is something today parents could do in order to ensure that this kind of tragedy will not happen to their child. They can ensure that their child has been vaccinated against measles. I was not able to provide that service in the case of Olivia in 1962 due to the fact that there was no reliable measles vaccine hadn’t been developed. Nowadays, a safe and effective vaccine is readily available to everyone in the family, and all you need to do is consult your doctor about administering the vaccine.
“I suppose there’d be a greater chances of your child getting choked to death from the chocolate bar than getting seriously sick from measles vaccination. So , what do you have to worry about? It’s an offense to let your child to be unvaccinated .”
3. He spoke out for beard-haters all over the world.
Roald Dahl was known for his dislike of beards. His aversion at beards was the basis to create one of Dahl’s most disgusting characters, Mr. Twit. In actual fact, he chose to write the Twits in order to “do something against beards”.
Dahl’s biographer Micahel Rosen remembers that the first time they came into contact, Dahl leant across to his son Joe and told him that he thought his father’s hair was disgusting. “It’s probably got today’s breakfast in it. Then the dinner last night. Also, old pieces of junk and any old items has been uncovered. There might be the wheel of a bicycle in it.”
With the current fashion for facial fuzz, this excerpt of the novel The Twits is as relevant just as it was when Dahl first wrote it.
4. He warned us not to take life too seriously.
One of the main reasons Dahl believed he achieved great success in his writing was that Dahl was laughing “at exactly the same jokes that children laugh at.”
Amelia Foster, director of the Roald Dahl Museum, recalls with fondness the time “Dahl refused to take anything seriously, even himself.”
5. …and that, as long as you’re healthy you will be gorgeous
6. He expanded our vocabulary when he did.
Roald Dahl’s bizarre handwritten phrases. Image via Roald Dahl Foundation
It is estimated that Roald Dahl invented more than 500 new words for his books for children, many of them are found in the hilarious silly languages from the BFG.
The list is endless. Oompa Loompas to Snozzcumbers, gobblefunk to trogglehumpers. Dahl came up with a vibrant language full of amusing and funwords that are accompanied by pleasing sound effects. Here are some of our favorites:
Squiggly:A biffsquiggled person is perplexed or confused
ZozimusThis can be the stuff dreams are constructed out of. in the film The BFG The Big Friendly Giant himself whisks the zozimus to form huge soap-like bubbles
GobblefunkIf it is your intention to gobblefunk the word, you’re playing with words creating new words and phrases. That’s why Roald Dahl may be the most famous gobblefunker!
7. He was aware of the importance of patience.
Roald Dahl inside his famous writing room. Image via Wiki
“When you’re writing , it’s like taking a long hike, across mountains, valleys, and so on that you can see. You get the first glimpse of the landscape and record it. You then walk further, perhaps up the top of the hill, and notice something else, and then you write it down and continue to do this, day in and day out and seeing different perspectives of the same scenery. The most awe-inspiring mountain in the hike is clearly at the top of the book since it’s the most beautiful view as everything is unified and you are able to examine the past and see how that everything you’ve written is tied together. It’s a extremely slow and long process.”
He also pointed out that when learning something new it’s fine to not be able to comprehend everything in one go. When it comes to reading, just like writing, understanding requires perseverance and patience.
“Don’t fret about the words you don’t understand. Relax and let your words flow over your head, just similar to music.”
— Roald Dahl, Matilda
8. He reminded us that we must always try our best
“If you’re attracted to something, regardless of what it is, then go for it with all your might. Take it in with all your heart embrace it, kiss it, love it and, most importantly, be enthusiastic about it. Lukewarm is not good. Hot isn’t any good either. Passionate and white hot is the only way that can be .”
— Roald Dahl, My Uncle Oswald
9. The man proved it’s never late to find your talents
Roald Dahl didn’t get into writing books for children until his 40s. He was already employed by Shell who was based and living for a few years within Kenya in Kenya and Tanzania. After WWII started to take place, Dahl became a lieutenant in the King’s African Rifles before joining the RAF.
His time in the military was full of drama and in addition to being able to survive a tragic crash on a plane, he was an intelligence agent, providing information for Washington in the direction of Winston Churchill himself. It was in this position where he met his friend Ian Fleming, whose novels Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the James Bond classic You Only Live Twice were later adapting for the silver screen.
Dahl’s first book for children was the Gremlins The Gremlins, a story that was inspired by RAF mythology about mischievous creatures that got caught in engines , causing all sorts of technical issues.
10. We wanted to talk to our moms more frequently
A prolific writer of letters during his entire life Dahl sent letters to his mom so frequently that his letters have been published in a book titled Love from Boy.
The letters are hilarious detailed and filled with Dahl’s unique, vibrant style. When he writes about one of his teachers, for instance it’s obvious that the same genius is that is behind the Twits. Young Dahl refers to him as “a tall person with an appearance resembling the field elderberry and a moustache that closely likes that of the African jungle. A voice that sounds like an frog, not a chest and a big stomach, which is probably is a Rumble-hound-like species.” Oh!
Dahl did not know that his mother kept his letters. And we are all very thankful for her doing it. After her passing Dahl went to his mother’s home and found all the letters he’d sent to her “in neat bundles with green tape”.
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