James and the Giant Peach


Roald Dahl

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James and the Giant Peach: Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Once James details his plan, the Old-Green-Grasshopper and the Centipede affirm that it’s brilliant. The Earthworm, however, is distraught. James puts an arm around the Earthworm’s shoulders and promises that he won’t let the seagulls touch him. But James insists they need to get going, since there are about 100 sharks attacking the peach now. To everyone on top of the peach, it looks like the peach is sinking. James tells everyone to take their places. Everyone knows he’s the captain. He orders everyone but the Earthworm to climb back into the peach and sends the Centipede to wake up the Silkworm.
Especially when James comforts the Earthworm, he steps even further into an adult role. This is reinforced when, moments later, the bugs accept James as their captain. Their acceptance of James’s plan suggests that more adults should listen to children’s ideas—they may be outlandish, but there might be some grain of truth or usefulness within.
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