Female Animal Characters in Roald Dahl’s Children’s Books: A Misogynistic Portrayal


  • Sarah Caré Universidad de Jaén




gender stereotypes, gender roles, children’s literature, Roald Dahl, feminist literary criticism


Children’s literature introduces children to the world, stimulates their imagination, and mirrors the society they live in by reproducing its social rules and accepted norms. This is especially true with gender stereotypes, which display and reinforce the masculine and feminine roles constructed by a given society. This binary, onedimensional, and conventional representation is harmful as it negatively impacts young readers’ apprehension of gender roles as well as their personality, behaviour, and aspirations for the future. World-renowned children’s author Roald Dahl has recently been criticised as a controversial author and a racist, misogynistic person. By adopting a feminist literary critical approach, this study analyses Dahl and his illustrator Quentin Blake’s portrayal of female anthropomorphic characters, generally neglected by previous researchers in favour of human characters, in four books: James and the Giant Peach (1961), The Magic Finger (1966), Fantastic Mr Fox (1970), and The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me (1985). Female characters are weak, inactive, confined indoors, and constantly belittled by their male counterparts who are portrayed as adventurous and as decision makers. Therefore, this study aims to encourage parents and educators to teach young learners to read children’s books with a critical eye to identify and interpret different stereotypical representations.


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How to Cite

Caré, S. (2024). Female Animal Characters in Roald Dahl’s Children’s Books: A Misogynistic Portrayal. Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies, 69, 111–130. https://doi.org/10.26754/ojs_misc/mj.20248807



ARTICLES: Literature, film and cultural studies
Received 2023-03-19
Accepted 2024-02-22
Published 2024-06-24