James and the Giant Peach


Roald Dahl

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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.
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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

There he goes again!” the Earthworm cried, speaking for the first time. “He simply cannot stop telling lies about his legs! He doesn’t have anything like a hundred of them! He’s only got forty-two! The trouble is that most people don’t bother to count them. They just take his word.”

Related Characters: The Earthworm (speaker), The Centipede, James Henry Trotter
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

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 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 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:
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:

“For dinner on my birthday I shall tell you what I choose:
Hot noodles made from poodles on a slice of garden hose—
And a rather smelly jelly
Made of armadillo’s toes.
(The jelly is delicious, but you have to hold your nose.)”

Related Characters: The Centipede (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 64
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

“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 23 Quotes

“That’s it!!” cried the Captain. “It’s a secret weapon! Holy cats! Send a message to the Queen at once! The country must be warned! And give me my telescope.”

Related Characters: The Captain (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 84
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 25 Quotes

“But what’s the point?”

“What do you mean, what’s the point?”

“Why do you do it?”

“We do it for the farmers. It makes the soil nice and light and crumbly so that things will grow well in it. If you really want to know, the farmers couldn’t do without us. We are essential. We are vital. So it is only natural that the farmer should love us.”

Related Characters: James Henry Trotter (speaker), The Earthworm (speaker)
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

“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 27 Quotes

There was not a sound anywhere. Traveling upon the peach was not in the least like traveling in an airplane. The airplane comes clattering and roaring through the sky, and whatever might be lurking secretly up there in the great cloud-mountains goes running for cover at its approach. That is why people who travel in airplanes never see anything.

But the peach...ah, yes...the peach was a soft, stealthy traveler, making no noise as it floated along. And several times during that long silent night ride high up over the middle of the ocean in the moonlight, James and his friends saw things that no one had ever seen before.

Related Characters: James Henry Trotter
Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 98-99
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

“Those are skyscrapers! So this must be America! And that, my friends, means that we have crossed the Atlantic Ocean overnight!”

“You don’t mean it!” they cried.

“It’s not possible!”

“It’s incredible! It’s unbelievable!”

“Oh, I’ve always dreamed of going to America!” cried the Centipede. “I had a friend once who—“

“Be quiet!” said the Earthworm. Who cares about your friend? The thing we’ve got to think about now is how on earth are we going to get down to earth?

“Ask James,” said the Ladybug.

Related Characters: James Henry Trotter (speaker), The Centipede (speaker), The Earthworm (speaker), The Ladybug (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 33 Quotes

Far below them, in the City of New York, something like pandemonium was breaking out. A great round ball as big as a house had been sighted hovering high up in the sky over the very center of Manhattan, and the cry had gone up that it was an enormous bomb sent over by another country to blow the whole city to smithereens.

Related Characters: James Henry Trotter
Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 123
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:
Chapter 39 Quotes

And because so many of them were always begging him to tell and tell again the story of his adventures on the peach, he thought it would be nice if one day he sat down and wrote a book.

So he did.

And that is what you have just finished reading.

Related Characters: James Henry Trotter
Related Symbols: The Peach
Page Number: 144-146
Explanation and Analysis:
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