Roald Dahl and the Working Class Underdog: A Marxist Reading of Roald Dahl’s Children’s Literature
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This dissertation will focus on Roald Dahl’s children’s literature, specifically Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1965), Danny the Champion of the World (1975) and Matilda (1988). It will examine these texts using a Marxist perspective. Chapter One: This chapter focuses on the class struggle, an important component of Marxist criticism and also a prevalent element in Dahl’s literature. The chapter examines how Dahl uses working class children as his protagonists rather than wealthier children, and they Dahl’s embellishment of the unattractive features of the wealthy upper classes. The focus of the argument is that Dahl portrays the working class as heroes, and vilifies the wealthy who mistreat those who earn less. Chapter Two: This chapter investigates mass consumerism and production in the chosen texts. It examines the production of chocolate, and the greed of children such as Augustus Gloop and Veruca Salt. It explains how Dahl promotes imagination and contentment over owning goods through the good times Danny and his father share. It also suggests the mass production of cars is an important factor in both Danny the Champion of the World and Matilda. The chapter also studies the Wormwood’s need to buy commodities and conform to society’s ideals of what a family should own. Chapter Three: This chapter focuses on crime and Dahl’s representation of it, depending on the character committing it. The main argument is that Dahl takes a left idealist approach, downplaying the crimes of the working class and portraying the crimes of the rich as far more offensive and affecting.
BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing
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