Dhaka Courier

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

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The wonders of a father, as seen by a son

Usually, patience doesn’t stay with us when we go about reading a novel ceaselessly till it ends, and sharp concentration doesn’t stay either. But nothing matters in reading a novel ceaselessly when it is as captivating as Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl, the renowned British novelist.

As Dahl is considered one of the great storytellers of the world, he demonstrates his mastery perfectly in this novel like his other laudable works. This novel is a riveting account of a sweet relationship between son and dad.  Here, protagonists are Danny and his father William. They own a small filling-station and a workshop which are their income source for living. When Danny was only four months old, his mother passed away so his father is the only one to take care of him. Danny gets each and everything from his father such that he never feels the absence of his mother. His only interest is to spend time with his father and to give a hand in fixing cars in their workshop. He is that much dad-loving that he would rather hang out with his father than his school-friends.

When Danny is nine years old, he introduces with a great secret that his father is a poacher who used to poach pheasants from woods in the estate of Victor Hazell in the dead of the night. The situation is not like William doesn’t have enough money so he poaches. The actual truth is he gets pleasure doing so because he has a rage for mischievous Hazell. Earlier, Danny is shocked at this fact but later he finds it reasonable to support his father because Hazell is a rude man who used to insult Danny and his father in the filling station. The main excitement of this novel starts from here when one night William goes for poaching but doesn’t return. Actually, he gets a serious injury in his one leg as he falls into a deep pit which is made by the keepers of pheasants in order to trap the poachers. However, Danny frees his father from this dangerous place. William’s friend Doctor Spencer gives him better treatment in hospital. Hilarious fact is that doctor Spencer once used to poach pheasant and trout just for pleasure when he was young and, as he also doesn’t like Hazell’s ill behaviour, so he even supports what William does to Hazell.

After release from hospital William’s wrath for Hazell grows more than before. As his previous attempt ended in smoke, he is looking for a new idea to poach peasants. Every year wealthy Hazell spends a lot of money to arrange a party in his wood where hundreds of high-profile people come to shoot pheasant. Hazell shows the worst prodigality of rearing hundreds of pheasants through the entire year just for a hunting party because he wants to feel important in this way. So William wants to poach all the pheasants so that he can ruin this nonsense. But it is a rough-and-tumble job to poach all pheasants by fooling a number of keepers armed with guns. While he is striving to find a way out, Danny comes up with an outstanding idea to mar Hazell’s shooting party by poaching almost all the pheasants. It brings an unprecedented success, worthy of “the champion of the world”. You have to dive into this novel to discover what it is.

My finding from this immaculate novel is that it is also possible for a single father to raise his children perfectly through the ocean of love, care and affection. Albeit poaching is an illegal activity, Dahl smears a colour of necessity on illegality that it will seem  worth-doing to anyone. The narrator of this novel is Danny himself, so it feels like Danny is directly talking with readers and everything appears so realistic. Emotions, fun, excitement and a little adventure in this novel are intertwined in a manner that you will never get bored reading it.

However, apart from all, what Dahl wants to draw is nothing but a picture of a beautiful son-dad relationship. It would be worth ending with what Danny himself says at the very end of the novel: “What I have been trying so hard to tell you all along is simply that my father, without the slightest doubt, was the most marvellous and exciting father any boy ever had.”

Al Nahian Avro, Student, Noakhali Science & Technology University.

  • A story of the sweetest son-dad-relationship
  • Danny the Champion of the World

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