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1st edition cover

The BFG (which stands for "Big Friendly Giant") is a children's book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake, first published in 1982. An animated film based on the book was released in 1989 with David Jason providing the voice of the BFG and Amanda Root as the voice of Sophie (a character Dahl based on his own granddaughter). The book was an expansion of a story told in Danny, the Champion of the World, an earlier Dahl book. The book won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. It has been made into a theatre performance. [1]

Contents

Plot

The story is about a little girl named Sophie, a name inspired by the author's granddaughter Sophie Dahl; Roald's mother was Sofie Magdalene Hesselberg Dahl. One night when Sophie couldn't fall asleep during the "witching hour", she sees a giant blowing something into the bedroom windows down the street. The giant notices her; although she tries to hide in her bed, he reaches through the window and carries her away to his home in giant country.

Fortunately for Sophie, she has been abducted by the world's only benevolent giant, the Big Friendly Giant or BFG. Operating in the strictest secrecy, the BFG catches good dreams, with help of his giant ears he can hear the dreams and its contents (which manifest themselves in misty Dream Country as floating, blob-like objects) and blows them via a trumpet-like blowpipe into the bedrooms of children. When he catches a nightmare, he explodes it, bottles it forever, or sometimes uses it to start fights among his neighboring mean giants. The BFG has a very pleasant character, oftentimes misusing words and having difficulty in grammar. He often writes down mixtures of dreams for children. Sophie teaches him how to speak properly and in the end, it is revealed that the story was written and told by the BFG himself.

The other giants are not so pleasant; each night they go out into the world to steal and eat "human beans", especially children. There is little else for them to eat where they live; the BFG, because he refuses to eat people, must survive on a revoltingly bitter and sour vegetable known as a snozzcumber. Luckily he is also able to make a delicious drink called frobscottle, which is fizzy and infinitely refreshing. It is rather unusual in that the bubbles in the drink travel downwards and therefore cause the drinker to break wind instead of burp; this causes noisy flatulence known as Whizzpoppers.

Sophie and the BFG become friends. Eventually, Sophie persuades the BFG that something must be done to stop the anthropophagous, or cannibalistic, giants. Together they develop a plan to get the Queen of England to help them. The BFG mixes a dream which will show the Queen what the giants do; when complete, it is the worst nightmare she has ever encountered. They set off for Buckingham Palace and blow the dream into the Queen's bedroom. The BFG then leaves Sophie on the Queen's windowsill and retreats into the palace gardens to hide.

When the Queen awakens, Sophie tells her that all of her dream was true. Because the dream included the knowledge that Sophie would be there when she woke up, the Queen believes her and speaks with the BFG. After considerable effort by the palace staff to create a table, chair and cutlery of appropriate size for him to use, the BFG is given a lavish breakfast, and the Queen begins work on eliminating the other giants. She calls the King of Sweden and the Sultan of Baghdad to confirm the BFG's story- the giants having visited those locations on the previous two nights-, then summons the Head of the Army and the Marshal of the Air Force. The said officers, though initially belligerent and skeptical, are brought to cooperate.

Eventually a huge fleet of helicopters follows the BFG to the giants' homeland. While the child-eating giants are asleep, the Army ties them up, hangs them under the helicopters, and after a brief struggle with the Fleshlumpeater, flies them to London, where a special large pit has been constructed from which they will not be able to escape. For their punishment, the child-eating giants had to eat the gross, ukyslush snozzcumber and yell/moan in embarrassment and humiliation.

Giants

The nine anthropophagous giants in the story are called:

  • The Fleshlumpeater
  • The Bonecruncher
  • The Manhugger
  • The Childchewer
  • The Meatdripper
  • The Gizzardgulper
  • The Maidmasher
  • The Bloodbottler
  • The Butcher Boy

There is a possible tenth giant, Sene the New Zealander-eating "Welly-Eating Giant" is mentioned only once and is mysteriously never referred to again, although this may simply be a reference to one of the known giants under a different name.

Most of the nasty giants are only mentioned by name; some are given a larger role, such as Fleshlumpeater, who is the nastiest of them all, and Bloodbottler, who invades the BFG's cave early in the story. Later, the BFG narrates the hunting methods of Childchewer, Gizzardgulper, and Meatdripper. It is also remarked that each giant has his favorite hunting ground, though they vary at times. Because all humans taste differently, the giants have certain preferences; all detest Greece as a hunting ground, however. This is because the flavors supposedly reflect the names and/or principal exports of their native land: therefore, Greeks taste greasy, Danes taste canine, and Swedes taste both sweet and sour, the English taste like Bread and butter pudding, Irish taste of Spuds and the Scottish taste of Scotch eggs and so on.

Editions

  • ISBN 0-224-02040-4 (hardcover, 1982)
  • ISBN 0-374-30469-6 (hardcover, 1982)
  • ISBN 0-590-06019-8 (paperback, 1982)
  • ISBN 0-435-12279-7 (hardcover, 1984)
  • ISBN 0-14-031597-7 (paperback, 1984)
  • ISBN 0-14-034019-X (paperback, 1985)
  • ISBN 1-85715-924-1 (hardcover, 1993)
  • ISBN 0-679-42813-5 (hardcover, 1993)
  • ISBN 0-14-130105-8 (paperback, 1998)
  • ISBN 0-14-130283-6 (paperback, 1999)
  • ISBN 0-14-131137-1 (paperback, 2001)
  • ISBN 0-224-06452-5 (hardcover, 2002)

References

  1. ^ "BFG at the theatre- Preview". digyorkshire.com. 2009-06-24. http://www.digyorkshire.com/HighlightDetails.aspx?Article=258. Retrieved 2009-06-17.  

Sources

  • The BFG by Roald Dahl
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