James and the Giant Peach

by

Roald Dahl

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James and the Giant Peach: Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It’s chaos inside the peach. James is tangled up with all his friends and all their furniture. The journey down the hill was, according to the narrator, the worst in history. The rolling was fun at first, but after the peach flattened Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, it rolled out of control. To make the journey even worse, the Glow-worm’s light stopped working. Now, though, everything is quiet. The Centipede shouts for light, but the Glow-worm struggles to light her tail. Finally, her light comes on. The Ladybug moans that the journey was terrible, but the Old-Green-Grasshopper says that they’re here. He doesn’t know where “here” is, but it must be somewhere good.
The Old-Green-Grasshopper demonstrates the power of optimism. Wherever they are, it’s better than where they were—there’s no Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge to abuse James anymore, for one thing. Further, if one treats life like an adventure, anything can be fun and exciting. This doesn’t mean that it’s always easy, as evidenced by this journey being the worst ever.
Themes
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Related Quotes
The Earthworm mutters that they must be in a coalmine, but the Old-Green-Grasshopper hopes they’ve made it to a country with music. James, meanwhile, hopes they’re near the seashore so he can play with other children. The Ladybug interrupts and asks if anyone else feels the peach bobbing up and down. The Old-Green-Grasshopper thinks she’s just dizzy, but he suggests they go up to the top of the peach and look around. The Centipede shrieks that he can’t go out in bare feet, so the Ladybug asks everyone to help with the Centipede’s boots. Miss Spider weaves a ladder so they can reach the ceiling. After a half-hour, they’re ready. One after the other, they climb the ladder through a soggy, peachy tunnel.
What James wants is to live somewhere where he can truly be a kid. He wants to be in nature, and he wants to be able to play with other kids like him. He is, in this sense, just as optimistic as the Old-Green-Grasshopper. The Earthworm, on the other hand, seems increasingly stuffy and pessimistic as he insists they’re in a coalmine.
Themes
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon