Roald Dahl was one of the greatest writers of children’s literature of all times. His literary brilliance has made him a great storyteller for children during the 20th century. Born in a Norwegian family residing in the UK on 13th September, 1916, he was very close to his mother. He later described his mother as one of the major sources of inspiration of his stories and also in his life. Roald Dahl books are unique and they do not follow the traditional patterns of children fairytale literature.
Although, he wrote many short adult stories, Roald Dahl is remembered for his magic in children’s literature. Roald Dahl books followed some distinct patterns of writing. His books were often very dark in nature. Children’s books from Roald Dahl are based mostly on his childhood experiences and imaginations. His mother used to tell him stories from the Norwegian mythology. The fantasy characters like trolls or giants are influenced by Norwegian mythological characters. Roald Dahl books are so popular among children because he used to write his stories from the viewpoint of children where adult characters are generally villains and someone among them becomes the savior of the children’s interests like the good giant of ‘The Big Friendly Giant’. Generally, the fat children are also the spoiled ones in Roald Dahl’s books. Roald Dahl has shown severe violence in his books which is unique among children fantasy genre. His most notable pattern in writing was to end any story abruptly. He also used dark humor in his stories. His first published story was ‘A Piece of Cake’ in 1942. ‘James and the Giant Peach’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, ‘Matilda’,’ Fantastic Mr. Fox’, ‘The Big Friendly Giant’, and ‘The Witches’ are some of his famous books. Many of these books have been converted in to movies later like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Roald Dahl also worked on adult stories and had written quite a few short stories for adults. He used his adult sense of humor and his uncanny ability to end a story suddenly to good effect in those short stories. These stories also brought him enough fame and his stories were published in magazines like Playboy, The New Yorker, Harper’s etc. Overall, he has written over sixty short stories in his lifetime. Roald Dahl wrote his autobiography named ‘Boy: Tales of Childhood’ based on his school days. Roald Dahl biography has been written by several writers namely Jeremy Treglown, Donald Sturrock and many more.
Many of Roald Dahl books have been adopted by many scriptwriters and film makers. There were several TV serials based on his stories. Roald Dahl died on November, 1990. He left his legacy in children’s’ charity through ‘Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity’. His influence in twentieth century literature is undeniable.