Mr. Fox, Badger, and the Smallest Fox dig a tunnel together to Bean's Secret Cider Cellar. Dahl describes the wonder and awe this place holds for the animals by juxtaposing their initial reaction to the room not containing food and their reaction when they realize what it does contain. After this, Dahl has the animals take turns drinking the cider and describing the sensation. These comments build on each other. First, the Smallest Fox simply provides a vivid description: "It was the real stuff, a home-brewed fiery liquor that burned in your throat and boiled in your stomach" (64). Then, Mr. Fox uses a series of strong adjectives: "'It's miraculous!' he whispered, fighting for breath. 'It's fabulous! It's beautiful!'" (65). Finally, Badger describes the cider with interesting metaphors: "It's... it's like melted gold!... it's... like drinking sunbeams and rainbows!" (65).
The Growing Hole
One of the most suspenseful and vivid sections of the book comes when Mr. Fox and the farmers race to dig down through the hill. As the farmers keep up their pursuit of Mr. Fox with shovels and then digging machines, Dahl uses description, pictures, and figurative language to show the farmers' progress and their negative impact on the environment. For example, the hill is shown to go from relatively flat to quite concave, which Dahl calls attention to by writing, "The hill now looked like this:... By five o'clock in the afternoon this is what had happened to the hill"(26-27). In terms of verbal description, Dahl shows how large the hill's transformation has been by comparing the hole to a "crater of a volcano" (28), using this simile to draw attention to the drastic impact the farmers have had on the environment in such a short time.
Dahl allows the reader to celebrate the feast alongside the animals by meticulously detailing all the animals and foods that were present after having been collected throughout the story. These two detailed lists demonstrate the plenty the animals experience, in contrast to how they were previously starving. Dahl accompanies the verbal description once again with a large picture, taking up most of the space on pages 74 and 75, which allows young readers to fully appreciate the animals' success.
Dahl gives the three farmers a set of exaggerated physical traits to help young readers tell the characters apart and understand that they are the antagonists of the story. He describes Boggis as fat and tall, Bunce as fat and short, and Bean as tall and skinny. Dahl repeats these descriptions often throughout the book to help readers remember and differentiate the characters. This differentiation also helps readers recognize the characters in the illustrations throughout the book, which are used to make the story more interesting and accessible for children.
Fantastic Mr. Fox Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Fantastic Mr. Fox is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Mr. Fox carefully selected what they would take while the other animals drooled with hunger. He chose a bit of each type of meat. One of the Small Foxes reminded him that some of the animals may only eat vegetables and suggested that they also...