Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach

Do you remember the part in Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach when a rain cloud burts open over the flying peach?

“It was a great solid mass of water that might have been a lake or a whole ocean dropping out of the sky on top of them, and down it came, down and down and down, crashing into the seagulls and then onto the peach itself, while the poor travelers shrieked with fear and groped around frantically for something to catch hold of — the peach stem, the silk strings, anything they could find — and all the time the water came pouring and roaring down upon them, bouncing and smashing and sloshing and slashing and swashing and swirling and surging and whirling and gurgling and gushing and rushing and rushing, and it was like being pinned down underneath the biggest waterfall in the world and not being able to get out.”

Are you out of breath? That’s probably the longest sentence in Dahl’s classic children’s book. The rolling style of this “run on” sentence gets the turbulent mood across. I love the string of adjectives he rolls out at the end. And the next sentence after that wild ride is simply, “They couldn’t speak” which provides the perfect punctuation. Dahl’s book is a fun adventure at any age.

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