James and the Giant Peach

by

Roald Dahl

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Aunt Sponge Character Analysis

One of the novel’s antagonists, Aunt Sponge is Aunt Spiker’s sister and James’s aunt. Unlike the skinny Aunt Spiker, Aunt Sponge is extremely overweight and is described as having a face “just like an overboiled cabbage.” (Just as Aunt Spiker’s name seems fitting for such a skinny, bony person, Aunt Sponge’s name is reflective of her plumpness and sponge-like body.) However, like her sister, Aunt Sponge also thinks that she’s very beautiful—though the narrator insists that this is untrue. Aunt Sponge is also unbelievably selfish and cruel, particularly to James. Along with her sister, Aunt Sponge forces James to perform difficult manual labor, beats him, and disrespects him constantly. Both sisters are extremely self-interested, so when the giant peach grows in her yard, Aunt Sponge is thrilled to be able to eat it. (In contrast, James is enamored of the peach for its beauty, not because what it can do for him.) She goes along with greedy Aunt Spiker’s plan to charge admission for people to see the peach. And though this initially proves successful, both Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker come to a sorry end when the peach detaches from its stem and rolls down the hill, flattening and killing both aunts in the process.

Aunt Sponge Quotes in James and the Giant Peach

The James and the Giant Peach quotes below are all either spoken by Aunt Sponge or refer to Aunt Sponge. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Puffin edition of James and the Giant Peach published in 2013.
Chapter 1 Quotes

They were selfish and lazy and cruel, and right from the beginning they started beating poor James for almost no reason at all. They never called him by his real name, but always referred to him as “you disgusting little beast” or “you filthy nuisance” or “you miserable creature,” and they certainly never gave him any toys to play with or any picture books to look at. His room was as bare as a prison cell.

Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

And as time went on, he became sadder and sadder, and more and more lonely, and he used to spend hours every day standing at the bottom of the garden, gazing wistfully at the lovely but forbidden world of woods and fields and ocean that was spread out below him like a magic carpet.

Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

“Oh, Auntie Sponge!” James cried out. “And Auntie Spiker! Couldn’t we all—please—just for once—go down to the seaside on the bus? It isn’t very far—and I feel so hot and awful and lonely...”

“Why, you lazy good-for-nothing brute!” Aunt Spiker shouted.

“Beat him!” cried Aunt Sponge.

“I certainly will!” [...] “I shall beat you later on in the day when I don’t feel so hot,” she said.

Related Characters: James Henry Trotter (speaker), Aunt Spiker (speaker), Aunt Sponge (speaker)
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

“It’s ripe!” she cried. “It’s just perfect! Now see here, Spiker. Why don’t we go and get us a shovel right away and dig out a great big hunk of it for you and me to eat?”

“No,” Aunt Spiker said. “Not yet.”

“Whyever not?”

“Because I say so.”

“But I can’t wait to eat some!” Aunt Sponge cried out. She was watering at the mouth now and thin trickle of spit was running down one side of her chin.

“My dear Sponge,” Aunt Spiker said slowly, winking at her sister and smiling a sly, thin-lipped smile. “There’s a pile of money to be made out of this if only we can handle it right. You wait and see.”

Related Characters: Aunt Sponge (speaker), Aunt Spiker (speaker), James Henry Trotter
Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 23-24
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

James decided that he rather liked the Centipede. He was obviously a rascal, but what a change it was to hear somebody laughing once in a while. He had never heard Aunt Sponge or Aunt Spiker laughing aloud in all the time he had been with them.

Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

They panicked. They both got in each other’s way. They began pushing and jostling, and each of them was thinking only about saving herself. Aunt Sponge, the fat one, tripped over a box that she’d brought along to keep the money in, and fell flat on her face. Aunt Spiker immediately tripped over Aunt Sponge and came down on top of her. They both lay on the ground, fighting and clawing and yelling and struggling frantically to get up again, but before they could do this, the mighty peach was upon them.

Related Characters: Aunt Sponge, Aunt Spiker
Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 48-49
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire James and the Giant Peach LitChart as a printable PDF.
James and the Giant Peach PDF

Aunt Sponge Character Timeline in James and the Giant Peach

The timeline below shows where the character Aunt Sponge appears in James and the Giant Peach. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...People sell James’s parents’ home and James moves in with his aunts, Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge . James’s aunts are awful, selfish, and cruel. They beat James for no reason, call... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker live in a house at the top of a hill. From the... (full context)
Chapter 2
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
James has now been living with Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker for three years. One morning, several peculiar things happen. It’s a hot... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
As Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge exchange insults, James chops wood frantically. His ax is too heavy for him, and he’s... (full context)
Chapter 5
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...in there. But as James passes the peach tree to get around Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge , he slips. When James hits the ground, the bag bursts open and the tiny... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
...see Aunt Spiker standing over him. As she orders James to finish chopping the wood, Aunt Sponge waddles over. She suggests they put James in the well overnight to cure him of... (full context)
Chapter 6
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Aunt Spiker shrieks at Aunt Sponge to come look—the peach tree has a peach on it. It’s up on the highest... (full context)
Chapter 7
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Aunt Spiker, Aunt Sponge , and James stand and watch the peach. James is more excited than he’s been... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...When it’s as tall as the tree and about the size of a small house, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker decide it’s done growing. Slowly, the women circle the peach and inspect... (full context)
Chapter 8
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 14
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...kindly explains that they’re about to leave this desolate hill—and consequently leave Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge behind. She notes that the peach tree is on a hill, and the only thing... (full context)
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...matter what they encounter—the important thing is that they get away from Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge . As soon as the Centipede is done singing, the peach begins to roll. (full context)
Chapter 15
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Out in the garden, Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge have just set up for another day of selling tickets to sightseers. Aunt Sponge remarks... (full context)
Chapter 17
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 25
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...flies and mosquitoes in her web. Spiders, she says, are treated unfairly. Just last week, Aunt Sponge flushed Miss Spider’s father down the bathtub drain. Miss Spider begins to cry. James looks... (full context)
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
The Centipede sings a song about how fat Aunt Sponge was. He sings that she decided to make herself “sleek as a cat,” but the... (full context)
Chapter 29
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...and her friends brought food for the grandmother for six months. But then, last April, Aunt Sponge noticed the spider on her ceiling and murdered it with a mop. Suddenly, James hears... (full context)