The analysis of Roald Dahl’s stories of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) and The Witches (1983) clearly shows that the author focuses on morbid elements to evoke the defects of individuals in the society of the second half of the twentieth century which irritate the author himself. Moreover, from the psychological point of view, Dahl deals with his own unpleasant experiences via morbid punishments which are assigned to the characters with annoying characteristic traits or irritating features of physical appearance.
The sequence of introduction of unfavourable traits and features and the resulting punishment suggested for each of them is the typical method of Dahl’s writing process. The punishment for the antagonists of his stories is often morbid, sadistic as well as violent to warn the reader to avoid those unwanted traits manifested in his writings. For instance there are punishments of four little finders of one of the Five Golden Tickets offered by Mr Willy Wonka in the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Fat Augustus Gloop is sucked into the pipe in the factory and transformed into a slim boy, nasty Violet Beauregarde is turned into enormous blueberry, spoiled Veruca Salt is thrown to the rubbish pipe and the last finder of the ticket, a great TV fun Mike Teavee, is turned into a midget and after that he is overstretched on a machine for stretching chewing gums. The punishment is also integrated into the story of The Witches in which all English witches are transformed into mice as a vengeance for torturing children.
The tendency to base the story on morbid elements originates in the author’s experiences which widely influenced Dahl’s writings. That is the reason why the Bachelor’s Diploma Thesis deals with Roald Dahl’s life and experienced events in its first part. This knowledge of influential incidents and personal tragedies occurring in Dahl’s life is applied in the analysis of the stories in the second part of the Bachelor’s Diploma Thesis to show that the author’s life is the most influential factor which creates the basis of his writings, especially those for children. It is so because the morbid elements implemented in the writings for children are easier to perceive and they are usually accepted as pure fantasy by young child readers. So Dahl himself supposes that those macabre elements manifested in the stories do not cause any harm to child readers. However, critics of his writings (such as David Rees and Eleanor Cameron) argue against his personal opinion. Nevertheless, the criticism of Roald Dahl’s writings is not uniform in attitudes towards those stories of his which depict a kind of decadent and morbid perception of reality by the author himself. Hence, it is obvious that a recognition of morbid aspects depicted in Dahl’s writings depends on the level of the reader’s ability to reveal them in the stories.
7. English Resume
The Bachelor’s Diploma Thesis deals with the theme of morbidity in the writings by the British author of the second half of the twentieth century Roald Dahl. It focuses mainly on the theme of morbidity in writings for children.
The first part of the Bachelor’s Diploma Thesis concentrates on the author’s life and his experiences which widely influenced the morbid thinking which already developed during Roald Dahl’s childhood. The author’s biography is supplemented by a chapter which deals with the most influential moments of the author’s life. These moments influenced not only Roald Dahl’s life but mainly his literary work, especially writings for children. Then morbidity is defined in the first part of the Bachelor’s Diploma Thesis. It is based on a description of external causation which influences the rise and development of mental disorders and deviations of an individual.
The second part of the Bachelor’s Diploma Thesis focuses on the analysis of two books for children written by Roald Dahl – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) and The Witches (1983). The books are analysed according to the presence of morbid elements in them. The analysis of the chosen writings is predominantly based on the research of criticism of Roald Dahl as a well-known contemporary writer. Furthermore, the analysed pieces of literature are compared with classical fairy tales written by Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm brothers. The comparing is based on the occurrence of morbid elements in their writings and the perception of the theme of morbidity by the authors themselves.
The conclusion of the Bachelor’s Diploma Thesis focuses on the summary of knowledge which emerges from the analysis and provides a new opinion on Roald Dahl’s writings.
8. Slovak Resume
V bakalárskej diplomovej práci sa zaoberám témou morbidity v dielach britského spisovateľa druhej polovice dvadsiateho storočia Roalda Dahla. Zameriava sa predovšetkým na morbiditu v príbehoch určených deťom.
Prvá časť práce je venovaná opisu autorovho života a skúseností, ktoré najviac ovplyvnili morbídne myslenie vyvinuté u Roalda Dahla pravdepodobne už v rannom detstve. Autorova biografia je doplnená podkapitolou zameranou na najvplyvnejšie momenty v živote samotného autora, ktoré ovplyvňovali nielen jeho život, ale najmä literárnu tvorbu, predovšetkým diela venované detským čitateľom. V prvej časti bakalárskej diplomovej práce je ďalej definovaná morbidita, ktorá je stanovená na základe opisu vonkajších faktorov, ktoré vo veľkej miere ovplyvňujú vznik mentálnych porúch a úchyliek u človeka.
V druhej časti bakalárskej diplomovej práce som analyzovala dve detské knihy (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a The Witches) z hľadiska výskytu prvkov morbidity v daných dielach. Analýza vybraných diel sa zakladá predovšetkým na predošlom skúmaní kritických komentárov k dielam a na názoroch kritikov, ktorý všeobecne hodnotili diela Roalda Dahla ako jedného z najčítanejších autorov druhej polovice dvadsiateho storočia. Ďalej som porovnala analyzované diela s klasickými rozprávkami Hansa Christiana Andersena a bratov Grimmovcov. V ich dielach, v ktorých hrá morbidita dôležitú úlohu, som sa tiež zamerala na jej prvky a na to, ako k nim pristupujú samotní autori.
V závere bakalárskej diplomovej práce sú zhrnuté poznatky, ktoré vyplynuli z analýzy a poskytujú čitateľovi nový pohľad na diela Roalda Dahla.
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