Children's Literature

The Bfg or the Big Friendly Giant



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"The Bfg or the Big Friendly Giant"
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“The BFG” by Roald Dahl is the story of how a little girl and her giant friend save the world from a group of flesh-eating giants.

The book begins in the middle of the night when Sophie, an orphan, is snatched by the BFG—or Big Friendly Giant, as he calls himself. He had been walking down her street and she saw him. In order to keep secret the giants’ existence, he must snatch her. Luckily for Sophie, the BFG does not eat humans.

Back in the land of the giants, though, Sophie does see the other giants—nine of them—who are man-eaters. There’s the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, the Manhugger, the Childchewer, the Meatdripper, the Gizzardgulper, the Maidmasher, the Bloodbottler, and the Butcherboy. The BFG explains that he only eats snozzcucumbers (even though he hates how they taste) and that he’s a dream-blowing giant. Each night he visits the homes of children and blows wonderful dreams into their sleep. After a solid thumping by the other giants, one of whom suspects he has a human hidden, the BFG takes Sophie to the land of dreams and shows her how he catches dreams and bottles them. When he catches a nightmare, he bottles that up too to keep it from harming children.

When they return to the BFG’s cave, Sophie and the BFG discover that the giants plan to go to England that evening to eat boys and girls in boarding schools (on previous nights they had traveled to Sweden and Iran). Sophie is horrified at the prospect and wants to stop them. She knows that it’s too late to stop that night’s raid, but asks the BFG to help her come up with a way to stop the giants forever.

The two concoct a plan that will get the Queen of England to help. Using his dream skills, the BFG creates a dream for the Queen that shows exactly what the other giants are doing. To add verisimilitude to it, the BFG includes in the dream the image of Sophie waiting in the Queen’s bedroom to tell her about the man-eaters. Sophie plans to do just that so that when the Queen awakes she’ll know her dream was of real events.

The BFG and Sophie travel to London and plant the dream—a nightmare, really—in the Queen’s head. When she awakes and finds Sophie, she knows the giants must be real. She invites the BFG into the palace and they come up with a plan for defeating the giants.

That afternoon, the BFG leads a group of army and air force helicopters and jeeps to the land of the giants to catch them while they’re sleeping. They nearly don’t succeed, but with Sophie’s help, they manage to catch all nine and bring them back to England. There they are deposited in a huge pit and fed only snozzcucumbers. The BFG, meantime, is rewarded by the Queen with a castle. And Sophie decides to live with him.

 

More about this author: Marie Drucker

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