Sunday, July 8, 2007

Meet Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was born on September 13, 1916 to Norwegian parents, and he died on November 23, 1990 at the age of 74 due to a rare blood disease -- Myelodysplastic Anaemia. He is currently buried at the Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.

His writings were mostly influenced by his own experiences. He had his own autobiography published entitled Boy: Tales of Childhood. At the age of eight, he and four of his friends were caned by the headmaster after putting a dead mouse in a jar of sweets at the local sweet shop, which was owned by a "mean and loathsome" old woman called Mrs. Pratchett. The book came out as the Great Mouse Plot of 1923. Another would be the famous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Cadbury, a chocolate company, would occasionally send boxes of new chocolates to his school to be tested by the pupils. Dahl himself apparently used to dream of inventing a new chocolate bar that would win the praise of Mr. Cadbury himself, and inspired him to write his third book for children.

There came a time when Dahl was subject to boycotts in Israel and in other places because of his alleged anti-Semitism (discrimination and prejudice directed to Jews). Years later, he claimed that he was only against injustice, not the Jews. Roald Dahl has also been active during World War II. He was made officer in the King's African Rifles, commanding a platoon of askaris. He also joined the Royal Air Force. Six months later, he was made Pilot officer and was assigned to No. 80 Squadron RAF, flying obsolete Gloster Gladiator, the last biplane fighter plane used by the RAF. In one of his flights, he crashed on a desert because he ran out of fuel and he was given the wrong information of where he was supposed to be headed. This accident blinded him but five months after, he was discharged, had his eyesight back and was ready to fly again. During the war, Dahl supplied intelligence from Washington to Stephenson and his organization known as British Security Coordination. He became a Flight Lieutenant, Assistant Air Attache and he ended the war as a Wing Commander. One of his books about the war was Shot Down Over Libya, which was about the crash of his gladiator.

Dahl created the best loved children's stories of the 20th century. These stories are usually told from the point of view of a child and they involve villains and a good adult to counteract the villains. His mom usually told him stories about mythical Norwegian creatures and his sister's tales were about trolls. These also contributed to Dahl's story making. At present, the Roald Dahl Children's Gallery is open at Buckinghamshire County Museum in nearby Aylesburry. In June 2005, the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre opened in Great Missenden to celebrate the work of Roald Dahl and to advance his work in literacy.

~Arianne Aguenza

No comments: