James and the Giant Peach


Roald Dahl

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James and the Giant Peach: Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

News of the peach spreads quickly across the countryside. The next day, hordes of people arrive to look at it. Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker hire carpenters to build a fence around the peach. Then, they sell tickets to people who want to see it. By noon, the garden is filled with people. Helicopters and news crews arrive and agree to pay double to take their cameras closer. While all this is going on, James sits locked in his bedroom. He stares out the bars of his window at the fun below. He’d begged his aunts to let him help sell tickets, but they didn’t want him to mess anything up.
Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker’s desire to make money off the peach reflects their existence in a stuffy adult world where things are only valuable as long as they can generate a profit. The peach, in their eyes, isn’t interesting in its own right—it’s only so compelling to them because it’s going to make them rich. To this end, they deny James any time outside, even though he could probably help them. Their expected wealth is more important to them than anything else.
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At the end of the day, Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge let James out of his room and send him outside to clean up the mess that the crowds left. They refuse to give him food first, even though he hasn’t eaten all day—they’re too busy counting their money to feed him. Once James is outside, they lock the door so he can’t get back in.
Again, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker are so caught up in the adult world of money and fame that they have no time to spare for James. Like the peach, James has worth in their eyes only as long as he can make their lives easier.
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