Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Britney L. Jones


The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the role and representation of women in Roald Dahl’s children’s novels. To do this, I conducted a document analysis of five of Dahl’s books - “James and the Giant Peach” (1961), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (1964), “Danny, The Champion of the World” (1975), “The Witches” (1983), and “Matilda” (1988) - in order to answer the following questions: How does Roald Dahl portray women and girls in his novels? What gendered stereotypes are present, and how does this portrayal change over time? I was able to answer this question through utilizing a feminist literary criticism approach. By using texts such as Simone de Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex”, I was able to frame my analysis of gender stereotyping and the creation of an image of gender in Dahl’s books. In conducting this study, I found that Roald Dahl crafts an image of what a woman is using gendered stereotypes and specific narratives. While overt stereotyping lessens over time and Dahl portrays some overt feminist ideas in his later work, his subtle dictation of what a good woman is and what a bad woman is endures throughout his entire career as a children's author.


Senior Thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies.