How does Dahl make Mr. Fox appear fantastic despite his crimes?
Though he is hailed as the story's protagonist and the exemplar of moral excellence, Mr. Fox commits numerous crimes against the three farmers. He steals from them constantly yet the readers are able to overlook his wrongdoings. This is because Dahl characterizes the three farmers to be physically as well as morally repulsive, while Mr. Fox is shown to be strong, clever, and caring.
What does the physical appearances of the three farmers suggest about their personalities?
Dahl enjoys using physical descriptors as visual manifestations of character traits. Characters who are heroic and morally good are attractive while characters that are villains are physically unattractive. In Fantastic Mr. Fox, the fatness of the two farmers suggests their gluttony, while the scrawny figure of Farmer Bean suggests his miserly personality.
Was Mr. Fox's stealing justified because he was stealing to save his starving children?
Dahl sends a complicated message about stealing in Fantastic Mr. Fox. On one hand, the reader sees that Mr. Fox, his wife, and his children will definitely die if they don't get food somehow. However, once Mr. Fox finds out that he can steal from the farmers, he celebrates this fact, throws a large feast (providing each person attending with more food than they needed to simply not starve), and plans to continue stealing even once the immediate danger has passed. Thus, it could be said that Mr. Fox's stealing was not entirely justified since he was not simply stealing to keep people from starving, but in part to get back at the farmer's for their greed and attempts to kill him.
What morals about the environment does Dahl include in Fantastic Mr. Fox?
The farmers' careless actions toward the environment while in pursuit of Mr. Fox demonstrate Dahl's sentiments about humans' interaction with the environment. First, the farmers do not seem to care about disturbing the environment by digging a large hole to try to kill Mr. Fox. Next, when they begin to chase Mr. Fox with digging machines, the hole grows quickly and becomes massive. Dahl compares the hole to the crater of a volcano to show just how drastic the change in the environment is, and shows this transformation through a series of pictures where the clash between nature and the machines is clear. Then, when Mr. Fox is looking for food, he runs into Badger who tells him about all the other starving animals who have been affected by the farmers looking for Mr. Fox and changing the ecosystem of the hill. The reader can tell that Dahl had strong negative feelings about the way some humans interact with animals and the environment, without caring how they affect it, especially when using new technology.
How does Dahl use pictures to add meaning in Fantastic Mr. Fox?
Many children's books use pictures to help keep the reader interested and engaged and help them comprehend and remember the story if their reading skills are still developing. Dahl uses pictures on almost every page of Fantastic Mr. Fox to help readers visualize the story and underscore certain important moments and symbols. For example, at the beginning of the book, the farmers are shown together with Bean speaking emphatically to Boggis and Bunce, showing his leadership role in their group (1). Later on, the digging machines that the farmers use to try to catch Mr. Fox are drawn in a very scary way, with a digging claw almost like the mouth of a vicious animal (22-23), and the following pages contain a series of pictures showing the transformation of the hill as the farmers use the machines throughout the day (24-28), underscoring Dahl's message in the text of the story about the farmers' effects on the environment.