Boyhood and Consuming “Extra-special Sweets” in Roald Dahl’s Children’s Literature

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Arts, Media & Culture (BAMC2022)
Title: Boyhood and Consuming “Extra-special Sweets” in Roald Dahl’s Children’s Literature
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies and Theory
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Ji-Eun Kim, Yonsei University, South Korea


This article discusses chocolate and how it has shaped boyhood in Roald Dahl’s children’s literature in conjunction with the framework of Sara Ahmed’s The Performativity of Disgust. Dahl’s experience as a young tester for Cadbury chocolate bars inspired him to write his classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The secret chocolate factory is revealed to the finders of the golden tickets - the children and their guardians. During their tour, the Oompa Loompas who are workers and imported slaves toiling at Willie Wonka’s factory chant with disgust about how these children’s greed for sticky candies is sickening. Moreover, Bruce Bogtrotter is forced to a food-fighter challenge to eat a chocolate "boy's cake" induced by the headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. In addition, The Witches has an unnamed narrator, no longer a boy but a mouse person, that does not have chocolate cravings and is altogether disgusted by it. Indeed, Dahl's stories yield boyhood recollections of sticky chocolates as “extra-special sweets" diverging from gustatory desire to disgust.

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