How does Roald Dahl use language to shape our understanding of the events in ‘Boy’?
‘Boy’ by Roald Dahl is an autobiography of childhood stories combined together into one book. It consists of unusual but fascinating accounts of Dahl’s childhood. Although many of the stories are gruesome and disgusting, Dahl has put them together in a way that changes the perspective of the reader on the situation into more humor-like. This is done through compelling language, including sarcasm, hyperboles, short sentences, imagery, similes and juxtapositions.
Roald Dahl intellectually uses humor to change the tone of the events that occurred in his life from somber to humorous. He has effectively done this using sarcasm and hyperboles throughout the book. An excellent example of sarcasm is when it was intended in the phrase “Romance was floating in the air like moon dust”. Humor is created here for the reader as many of us can ‘visualise’ Dahl saying that in a sardonic voice as a child. Hyperboles are spread across the autobiography not only to add comedy, but also to make sure that the reader understands the importance of that event of his life. In this sense, “……they (Boazers) had the power of life and death over us junior boys”, is a specific example of where these two principles apply. Reading this phrase, the reader understands the intensity of power the boazers had over the juniors. This creates an easy way for Roald Dahl to summarize the power of seniors but also make the reader laugh when reading it. Humor allows us to read over some of the gruesome parts of Dahl’s life whilst still being able to enjoy the book.
In many scenarios, Dahl has used short sentences and imagery to help the reader understand a specific event. Short sentences are an effective way in leading to suspense, before getting to the climax of that occasion. They also add emphasis to something Dahl thinks is important. In the situation in the first paragraph on page 85, the