The BFG Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Aliens (Motif)

The BFG indicates the presence of alien life several times throughout the book.

"'Sometimes, on a very clear night,' the BFG said, 'and if I is swiggling my ears in the right direction,' - and here he swiveled his great ears upwards so they were facing the ceiling - 'if I is swiggling them like this and the night is very clear, I is sometimes hearing faraway music coming from the stars in the sky.' A queer little shiver passed through Sophie's body." (44)

The BFG's Hearing (Motif)

Throughout the book, the BFG continually demonstrates his super-human hearing. He can hear music from the stars and "a soft moaning sound" made by a tree when it is being chopped (45). He can hear Sophie's heartbeat from across the street, and frequently asks her to be quieter (44).

"'You is deaf as a dumpling compared with me!' cried the BFG. 'You is hearing only thumping loud noises with those little earwigs of yours. But I am hearing all the secret whisperings of the world!'" (43)

"'And do kindly stop breathing. You is terribly noisy down there.' 'I haven't moved a muscle,' Sophie said. 'Then don't,' the BFG answered sharply." (82)

"'You is talking too loud! You is forgetting that I is hearing every little thingalingaling fifty times louder than usual and there you is shouting away right insides my ear!' 'Oh gosh,' Sophie murmured. 'I forgot that.'"(132)

Sapphire Brooch (Symbol)

The Queen of England gives Sophie a sapphire brooch to wear after she has gotten dressed in her new blue dress (165). This brooch symbolizes how far Sophie has come - from being a little orphan with no one, to being a powerful girl with a giant and a Queen as her friends.

This brooch's symbolism is further enhanced when Sophie uses it to stab the Fleshlumpeater in the ankle. Her small action and bravery saved the whole operation (192). After her brave actions, Sophie is very polite and says to the BFG, "Will you please get that brooch back for me,' Sophie said. 'It belongs to the Queen" (194). Even throughout all her adventures, Sophie remembers who made them possible and wants to be sure that the Queen gets her things back.

Frobscottle (Symbol)

Frobscottle is the giant equivalent of soda, with its bubbles floating down instead of up. It causes farting instead of burping. It illustrates the way in which the giant country and humans are still very similar, while being different. Frobscottle is first introduced on page 64 and represents the budding friendship between the BFG and Sophie. As they get closer, they share more secrets with each other, including frobscottle and whizzpopping, or farting.

Violence (Allegory)

The Head of the Air Force and the Head of the Army are quick to suggest violence. They suggest bombing the giants and machine-gunning them (176-77). The Queen of England, Sophie, and the BFG all agree that this is not the best solution, preferring instead to do something non-violent. This is an allegory of the choice children face when they are younger - whether to fight someone with their fists or their words. It could also be seen as an allegory for the tendency of governments to jump into war in recent decades.