James and the Giant Peach

by

Roald Dahl

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Miss Spider is one of the giant bugs that James finds living inside the giant peach. She’s about the size of a child and is frightening for James at first—she’s the first to announce that she’s hungry, thereby making James think that she wants to eat him. In reality, Miss Spider is kind, helpful, and generous. She readily accepts James as the captain of the peach, and she also tells James stories that teach him why it’s important to not make assumptions about people. Since she’s a spider, most people are afraid of her and automatically don’t like her—even though she does nothing but good for the world by catching pesky flies and mosquitos in her web. While the assumptions people make about her are unfair and upsetting, even worse, she suggests, is the ease with which people act violently based on these prejudices. She tells James stories about her father, whom Aunt Sponge washed down the bathtub drain, and her grandmother, who got stuck in the fresh paint of Aunt Spiker’s ceiling and was eventually murdered with a mop. While all the giant bugs on the peach help James learn to be empathetic and approach others with openness and curiosity instead of prejudice, Miss Spider’s stories are perhaps the most meaningful in James’s personal development. Once in New York City, Miss Spider and the Silkworm learn to spin nylon and make a living creating ropes for tightrope walkers.

Miss Spider Quotes in James and the Giant Peach

The James and the Giant Peach quotes below are all either spoken by Miss Spider or refer to Miss Spider. 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 13 Quotes

Already, he was beginning to like his new friends very much. They were not nearly as terrible as they looked. In fact, they weren’t really terrible at all. They seemed extremely kind and helpful in spite of all the shouting and arguing that went on between them.

Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

“But my dear friends!” cried the Old-Green-Grasshopper, trying to be cheerful, “we are there!”

“Where?” they asked. “Where? Where is there?”

“I don’t know, the Old-Green-Grasshopper said. “But I’ll bet it’s somewhere good.”

Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

“None of us three girls can swim a single stroke.”

“But you won’t have to swim,” said James calmly. “We are floating beautifully. And sooner or later a ship is bound to come along and pick us up.”

They all stared at him in amazement.

“Are you quite sure that we are not sinking?” the Ladybug asked.

“Of course I’m sure,” answered James.

Related Characters: Miss Spider (speaker), James Henry Trotter (speaker), The Ladybug (speaker), The Old-Green-Grasshopper, The Centipede, The Earthworm
Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

“You must be crazy! You can’t eat the ship! It’s the only thing that is keeping us up!”

“We shall starve to death if we don’t!” said the Centipede.

“And we shall drown if we do!” cried the Earthworm.

[...]

“You can eat all you want,” James answered. It would take us weeks and weeks to make any sort of a dent in this enormous peach. Surely you can see that?”

“Good heavens, he’s right again!” cried the Old-Green-Grasshopper, clapping his hands.

Related Characters: The Earthworm (speaker), James Henry Trotter (speaker), The Centipede (speaker), The Old-Green-Grasshopper (speaker), Miss Spider, The Ladybug
Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

“Is there nothing we can do?” asked the Ladybug, appealing to James. “Surely you can think of a way out of this.”

Suddenly they were all looking at James.

“Think!” begged Miss Spider. “Think, James, think!”

“Come on,” said the Centipede. “Come on, James. There must be something we can do.”

Their eyes waited upon him, tense, anxious, pathetically hopeful.

Related Characters: The Ladybug (speaker), Miss Spider (speaker), The Centipede (speaker), James Henry Trotter
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

“Action stations!” James shouted. “Jump to it! There’s not a moment to lose!” He was the captain now, and everyone knew it. They would do whatever he told them.

Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

“But what about you, Miss Spider?” asked James. “Aren’t you also much loved in the world?”

“Alas, no,” Miss Spider answered, sighing long and loud. “I am not loved at all. And yet I do nothing but good. All day long I catch flies and mosquitos in my webs. I am a decent person.”

Related Characters: James Henry Trotter (speaker), Miss Spider
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 37 Quotes

“Don’t be frightened of us, please!” James called out. “We are so glad to be here!”

“What about those others beside you?” shouted the Chief of Police. “Are any of them dangerous?”

“Of course they’re not dangerous!” James answered. “They’re the nicest creatures in the world! Allow me to introduce them to you one by one and then I’m sure you will believe me.”

Page Number: 133-134
Explanation and Analysis:
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James and the Giant Peach PDF

Miss Spider Character Timeline in James and the Giant Peach

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Spider appears in James and the Giant Peach. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...as big as a large dog. There’s an Old-Green-Grasshopper sitting on a stool, a giant Spider sitting next to him, and a Ladybug on her own chair. On a sofa sits... (full context)
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
After a moment, the Spider asks James if he’s hungry. James says nothing and the Centipede remarks that James looks... (full context)
Chapter 12
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...the peach tree when a tiny green crystal wriggled past him. The Ladybug and Miss Spider shout that the same thing happened to them, while the Earthworm says he swallowed three... (full context)
Chapter 13
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Within moments, Miss Spider creates the first bed with her thread. It hangs from the ceiling like a hammock,... (full context)
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...again, louder. James is confused. He looks around and sees the Old-Green-Grasshopper, the Ladybug, Miss Spider, and the Earthworm snoring. James asks if the Centipede is talking to him, but the... (full context)
Chapter 17
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 18
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...going to die. The bugs panic—the Centipede can’t swim with his boots on, while Miss Spider, the Ladybug, and the Glow-worm can’t swim at all. Calmly, James says that nobody has... (full context)
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...Earthworm and with the Centipede, who insists that they’ll either drown or starve. When Miss Spider asks if she can just eat a tiny bit of the peach, James notes that... (full context)
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...remarks that the peach is better than aphids, which is all she’s ever eaten. Miss Spider concurs; this is better than a fresh-caught fly. But the Centipede sings that he’s tasted... (full context)
Chapter 19
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...their meal, the Centipede points to a “funny thin black thing” in the water. Miss Spider and the Ladybug notice that there are several. The Earthworm cries that they must be... (full context)
Chapter 20
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...as much string as James wants if they wake up the sleeping Silkworm downstairs. Miss Spider says she can also make string. She assures James the string will be thick and... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...to be on the peach. At this, the Earthworm becomes hysterical. The Centipede and Miss Spider say they’ll respect the Earthworm as a martyr for the rest of their lives as... (full context)
Chapter 22
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...gulls. Inside the peach’s chamber, the Glow-worm lights the room so the Silkworm and Miss Spider can spin their thread. (full context)
Chapter 23
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Everyone runs to the top of the peach. The view is so magnificent that Miss Spider pulls the Centipede into a dance. Even the shy Glow-worm and the quiet Silkworm watch... (full context)
Chapter 25
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
The Centipede notes proudly that he’s a pest; nobody loves him. James asks Miss Spider whether people love her. She sighs as she says that nobody loves her, even though... (full context)
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...as a cat,” but the peach made her thinner than any diet would have. Miss Spider loves the song and asks for one about Aunt Spiker. With a grin, the Centipede... (full context)
Chapter 28
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...have a problem: the peach is headed right for the arch and the ropes. Miss Spider, the Earthworm, and the Ladybug all panic. James shouts for everyone to hold on as... (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
...aghast that the paint dried so fast, but James notes that “rainbow-paint” dries quickly. Miss Spider says she hates paint. The last time Aunt Spiker painted her kitchen, Miss Spider’s grandmother... (full context)
Chapter 30
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Everyone listens, but the voice is too far away to make out properly. Miss Spider cries that it’s a Cloud-Man come to get them, while the Earthworm says, “It came... (full context)
Chapter 31
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...whoosh above and see something large and bat-like. The creature cries and flies away. Miss Spider moans that she wants morning to come soon. James points to the horizon, where the... (full context)
Chapter 37
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...the Centipede nor the Old-Green-Grasshopper know why the first responders are so upset. When Miss Spider joins them at the edge, the head of the fire department blanches. Miss Spider asks... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...and, breaking into song, he introduces the Centipede, the Earthworm, the Old-Green-Grasshopper, the Glow-worm, Miss Spider, the Ladybug, and the Silkworm. As he introduces each bug, James shares something good that... (full context)
Chapter 39
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...makes women’s face creams. He acts in commercials for the creams. The Silkworm and Miss Spider learn to spin nylon thread and make ropes for tightrope walkers, while the Glow-worm replaces... (full context)