James and the Giant Peach

by

Roald Dahl

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The Old-Green-Grasshopper Character Analysis

The Old-Green-Grasshopper is the oldest and most distinguished of the bugs that James discovers living inside the giant peach. He’s quiet much of the time and leaves most of the talking to the Centipede and the Earthworm. However, he does speak up to defend his honor—when the Centipede notes that the Old-Green-Grasshopper was a “pest” in his youth, the Old-Green-Grasshopper insists he’s never been a pest. Instead, the Old-Green-Grasshopper thinks of himself as a musician. As a short-horned grasshopper, the Old-Green-Grasshopper can use his wing and hind leg to create music much like that of a violin, which James finds very impressive. From the Old-Green-Grasshopper, James also learns that it’s rude to make assumptions about other people’s bodies. For James, it’s a shock to learn that grasshoppers’ ears are on either side of their abdomen, rather than on either side of their head—but the Old-Green-Grasshopper and the Centipede make the case that it’s just as silly to have ears on one’s head as it is to have them on one’s belly. When he’s not imparting lessons like these to James, though, the Old-Green-Grasshopper is prone to panicking loudly and dramatically during difficult situations, which makes him a foil for James’s maturity and penchant for creative problem-solving. In New York City, the Old-Green-Grasshopper joins the New York City Symphony Orchestra.

The Old-Green-Grasshopper Quotes in James and the Giant Peach

The James and the Giant Peach quotes below are all either spoken by The Old-Green-Grasshopper or refer to The Old-Green-Grasshopper. 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 21 Quotes

“Why, it’s absolutely brilliant!” cried the Old-Green-Grasshopper when James had explained his plan.

“The boy’s a genius!” the Centipede announced. “Now I can keep my boots on after all.”

“Oh, I shall be pecked to death!” wailed the poor Earthworm.

“Of course you won’t.”

“I will, I know I will! And I won’t even be able to see them coming at me because I have no eyes!”

James went over and put an arm gently around the Earthworm’s shoulders. “I won’t let them touch you,” he said. “I promise I won’t.”

Related Characters: The Old-Green-Grasshopper (speaker), The Centipede (speaker), The Earthworm (speaker), James Henry Trotter (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

“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 24 Quotes

“My dear young fellow,” the Old-Green-Grasshopper said gently, “there are a whole lot of things in this world of ours that you haven’t started wondering about yet. Where, for example, do you think that I keep my ears?”

“Your ears? Why, in your head, of course.”

Everyone burst out laughing.

Related Characters: The Old-Green-Grasshopper (speaker), James Henry Trotter
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

“You’re joking,” James said. “Nobody could possibly have his ears on his legs.”

“Why not?”

“Because...because it’s ridiculous, that’s why.”

“You know what I think is ridiculous?” the Centipede said, grinning away as usual. “I don’t mean to be rude, but I think it is ridiculous to have ears on the sides of one’s head. It certainly looks ridiculous. You ought to take a peek in the mirror some day and see for yourself.”

Related Characters: James Henry Trotter (speaker), The Old-Green-Grasshopper (speaker), The Centipede (speaker)
Page Number: 88
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:
Get the entire James and the Giant Peach LitChart as a printable PDF.
James and the Giant Peach PDF

The Old-Green-Grasshopper Character Timeline in James and the Giant Peach

The timeline below shows where the character The Old-Green-Grasshopper 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
...insects are usually small—and these creatures are 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... (full context)
Chapter 12
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...this doesn’t bother him. He notes that he’s the only pest present, aside from the Old-Green-Grasshopper—but the Old-Green-Grasshopper is too old to be much of a pest anymore. Scornfully, the Old-Green-Grasshopper... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...he swallowed three crystals. Annoyed, the Centipede admonishes his companions for interrupting his story. The Old-Green-Grasshopper says it’s too late for stories anyway, since it’s about bedtime. James has only undone... (full context)
Chapter 13
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...thread. It hangs from the ceiling like a hammock, but it’s silky and luxurious. The Old-Green-Grasshopper crawls in. Next, Miss Spider makes beds for the Ladybug, the Centipede, and the Earthworm.... (full context)
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...happens. He says it 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... (full context)
Chapter 17
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 18
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...can barely see the shore. None of them understand how they got here, and the Old-Green-Grasshopper declares this a “rather awkward situation.” The Earthworm, meanwhile, insists they’re going to die. The... (full context)
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Old-Green-Grasshopper says they must keep calm and believe everything will turn out fine. The Earthworm says... (full context)
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Old-Green-Grasshopper agrees with the Earthworm and with the Centipede, who insists that they’ll either drown or... (full context)
Chapter 20
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...tell them his idea, but James says it’s no good—they don’t have any string. The Old-Green-Grasshopper they can have as much string as James wants if they wake up the sleeping... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
The bugs insist that this is ridiculous, while the Old-Green-Grasshopper says it’ll take thousands of gulls to get the peach out of the air. James... (full context)
Chapter 21
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 22
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...in full view of the seagulls. His tail dangles into the tunnel so that the Old-Green-Grasshopper and the Ladybug can quickly pull him in to safety, while James waits in the... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...James tells the Earthworm that a gull is coming. When he gives the word, the Old-Green-Grasshopper and the Ladybug pull the Earthworm inside, and James loops the string around the gull’s... (full context)
Chapter 23
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
The Old-Green-Grasshopper suggests that they weren’t actually sinking. Maybe they were just so frightened that they thought... (full context)
Chapter 24
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...will hit land at some point. As the peach climbs higher, the Ladybug asks the Old-Green-Grasshopper if he’d play for them. The Old-Green-Grasshopper agrees. James has never heard music so beautiful,... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Old-Green-Grasshopper asks James if he liked the music. James loved it and says, “It was as... (full context)
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Everyone laughs when James insists that grasshoppers must have ears on their heads. Instead, the Old-Green-Grasshopper says, grasshoppers have ears on either side of their tummies—while crickets and katydids have ears... (full context)
Chapter 26
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...both James and the Centipede are lost. The others join her in crying, while the Old-Green-Grasshopper plays a funeral march on his violin. Suddenly, they feel three tugs on the string.... (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
...stick straight out and he can’t speak—the paint is already dry on his lips. The Old-Green-Grasshopper is aghast that the paint dried so fast, but James notes that “rainbow-paint” dries quickly.... (full context)
Chapter 30
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...away. The deluge makes James think this is the end, but suddenly, it stops. The Old-Green-Grasshopper and the Earthworm gasp at how wet they are, but the Centipede shouts with excitement—the... (full context)
Chapter 32
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...peers down at the vast city below them, which is spotted with tall buildings. The Old-Green-Grasshopper doesn’t think this is England and James agrees—this must be America. The peach crossed the... (full context)
Chapter 37
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Fun, Nonsense, and Absurdity Theme Icon
The Old-Green-Grasshopper sticks his head over the edge too. Six men faint when they see him, while... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...his friends aren’t dangerous 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... (full context)
Chapter 39
Assumptions vs. Curiosity Theme Icon
...Statue of Liberty’s torch. She saves the city from paying a huge electricity bill. The Old-Green-Grasshopper, meanwhile, joins the New York Symphony Orchestra with his violin. And the Ladybug, who spent... (full context)
Children vs. Adults Theme Icon
Nature and Growing Up Theme Icon
...James’s home. Every day, James welcomes visitors into his home. Sometimes they can find the Old-Green-Grasshopper or the Ladybug there as well. And every week, children visit the peach pit and... (full context)