Book Review: Danny, Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
The Movies of Roald Dahl
The Movies of Roald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach
Danny, Champion of the World
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Danny, Champion of the World
When reading Road Dahl’s, Danny, Champion of the World as a child, I was drawn into the idea of a tight-knit family consisting of simply a father and his son. The closeness between Danny and his father is unmatched in comparison to any other book I’ve read so far in my lifetime; Ernest Hemingway’s The Nick Adam’s Stories is certainly a very close second. Either son or father would do anything for one another.
Within the first few pages of Dahl’s beloved story, we learn that Danny lost his mother when he was only four months old (important to note that the number four could well be a symbol for death, as it is also the symbol for Hades, the ruler of the Underworld in Classic Greek Mythology). Immediately, we have sympathy for Danny whose only companion is his father who runs a filling station and automobile repair shop as their only source of family income. The two share an old caravan, much like the same ones used by traveling Gypsies. We also learn of our antagonist whose name is Mr. Victor Hazell who owns all of the land in town, that is, with the exception of the small plot of land owned by Danny and his father. No matter how much he tries, Mr. Hazell cannot get them to relinquish their land to him and throughout the course of our story, Hazell tries every trick in the book to take their land from them.
The Plot and Moral (minus the spoilers)
I relish the fact that both Danny and his father were dynamic in that they could be responsible in their undertaking in the matter of business and filial piety yet had the testicular fortitude to challenge authority by hunting illegal pheasant. As readers, we learn that the two are not well-off by any means, yet were not poor, as both were well-fed and cared for by each other. From their filling station and auto repair business, they made just enough to get by and seem content with what they had. The pheasant they hunted weren’t exactly needed in order for them to survive, as the two did so in spite of the law that prohibited them from doing so. Consequently, Dahl justifies their crime of pheasant poaching namely because it was crime against their antagonist Mr. Victor Hazell who everyone in town simply loved to hate.
However, the crime of pheasant poaching by both Danny and his father did not go unprovoked. We learn that Danny’s father refused Mr. Victor Hazell service one time, which made Hazell very angry. In turn, Hazell made life very difficult for Danny’s father by sending out inspectors (who were undoubtedly Hazell’s goons) who made false claims that the caravan Danny and his father used for lodging was “unfit” and that their filling station’s petrol (gas) did not meet industry standards. One could clearly argue that part of the reason why Danny and his father poached Hazell’s prized pheasants in the first place was payback for the harsh and unfair treatment they received in the hands of Mr. Hazell. Another reason was because pheasant was a delicacy reserved only for England’s Bourgeoisie or upper-class.
Parallels of Danny, Champion of the World
A few similar stories and even movies come to mind when observing the finer points in author Roald Dahl’s story (which I won’t call a children’s story because of its universal appeal). The story of Robin Hood certainly comes to mind, as Danny and his father’s intention of poaching Hazell’s prized birds was not a selfish act, as both planned to share their bounty with the underprivileged residents of their town who also craved its delightful taste. We could also view this story as being much like the classic Christmas movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart, in Stewart’s character George Bailey is Danny’s father and Mr. Potter is Mr. Hazell. Both are in essence slumlords whose wish is to take ownership of every parcel of real estate within reach, so as to consequently enslave the masses. Surely, there is much to consider when looking at the differences between ownership and leasing of land. An internal struggle is at work here—between corporation and sole-proprietorship.
I won’t give away exactly what does transpire by our story’s end, but make no mistake that justice is served. There is a very good reason why Danny is hailed as the “Champion of the World” and deservingly so. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest that you read Roald Dahl’s, Danny, Champion of the World, regardless if you’re eight years old or eighty years old! It just might make you wish that you were young all over again. Thank you for reading and please enjoy!
The Penultimate Hub (Hub 29/30)
Book Reviews and Children's Stories
- Lao Folktales : The Mango Tree
A real mango tree! There once a beautiful mango tree that grew in the jungle near a village. Each and every year when its fruit was in season, the children from the village would run into the jungle...
- Lao Folktales : The Crescent Moon Comb
Author's Note: A word about mia noi or minor wives For married men to have minor wives is a common practice in both Thai and Lao societies. A minor wife is a mistress in which a married man will have in...
- Lao Folktales : The Magic White Swan
Once there was a lonely farmer who decided to go fishing one day. He wore a shawl around his head to save from being bitten by mosquitoes and other bugs and carried a long fishing net. When he reached...
- Book Review: The Giving Tree
Hopefully like me, you love to read. As a kid, my family didn't have much money. Buying new books was a luxury that we could not afford, especially in a family of five children. That was why when a friend of...
- Book Review: The Sneetches By Dr. Seuss
The Sneetches are a group of yellow bird-like creatures that live on a beach in a far away land. And on this beach there are two types of Sneetches: One type with green stars on their bellies and one type...
- Harry Potter: Dark Vs. Light
To celebrate the opening of the sixth installment of the Harry Potter movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I thought it sensible to write a HUB on Harry Potter. The release date was July 17th, 2009....
More by this Author
Once there was a lonely farmer who decided to go fishing one day. He wore a shawl around his head to save from being bitten by mosquitoes and other bugs and carried a long fishing net. When he reached the river, he cast...
A real mango tree! There once was a beautiful mango tree that grew in the jungle near a village. Each and every year when its fruit was in season, the children from the village would run into the jungle and harvest...
All throughout my life I’ve been stereotyped, albeit, in a positive manner, but stereotyped nonetheless for being Asian. Much of it has to do with given a backhanded compliment, which is a form of subtle racism...