James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach Summary and Analysis of Ch. 6 - 10

At the beginning of Chapter 6, Aunt Spiker shouts to Aunt Sponge that a peach is growing on the once-barren tree. Aunt Sponge is shocked. James puts down his yard tools and walks up to his aunts; he has a feeling that something peculiar is going to happen. His aunts want to eat the peach, splitting it half-and-half, and they ask James to climb the tree to the tallest branch and get the peach down for them. When James reaches the top, his aunts yell at him to not eat any of the peach before he brings it down. But just before James reaches the peach, both of his aunts shout out that the peach is growing! In no time at all, it has doubled in size.

In Chapter 7, the peach begins to grow uncontrollably. James and his aunts all watch as it continues to grow, assuming that the now-huge fruit will break the branch and fall to the ground. The branch does not break, however, and the peach soon settles on the ground and stops growing. At this point it is the size of a small house and is perfectly ripe. James's aunts look at the beautiful peach and (at Aunt Spiker's prompting) decide there is money to be made from this strange sight.

In Chapter 8, news of a peach as large as a house spreads across the nation, and Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker capitalize on the opportunity for publicity. They build a fence around the peach and charge 1 shilling per person for admission to see the peach, double if the visitor brings along a camera. While his aunts are busy making money, James is forced to stay inside his room and simply watch. Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge even become so busy counting their money that they forget to feed James. What makes the situation even sadder is that James desperately wants to go outside and play with the children who come to see the peach, since he hadn't met another child in several years.

Chapter 9 opens with James staring out at the peach in the middle of the night, longing to go out and touch it. He makes his way outside, where the shadows dance around him, and he is tense with fear as he stares at the peach. It looks like a tremendous silver ball, and James, despite his apprehension, walks towards it, ready to finally feel it.

As he walks, James has a feeling that something spectacular is about to happen. The garden is alive with magic. As he places his hand and cheek on the soft fuzz of the peach, he looks down at the ground - there is a hole in the peach.

James excitedly decides to explore the hole in Chapter 10 - but as he crawls in, he realizes this isn't a hole, but a tunnel! He begins to crawl along the soggy floor of the peach, inhaling the sweet smell of the fruit and tasting the juice as it falls from the ceiling of the tunnel. He crawls uphill, and seems to be approaching the center of the fruit. Suddenly he hits his head on a hard surface, which appears to be a wall at first.

Upon closer examination, James realizes the grooved and waxy "wall" is actually the pit of the peach. Within the pit is a small door, and James opens it and crawls in. He is greeted by voices: "Look who's here! We've been waiting for you!" As he looks up and identifies the speakers, he is horrified and turns white. He tries to turn around and exit, but nothing but a solid brown wall is now behind him.


Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge's greed is showcased in this collection of chapters. The two women seek to profit from the giant peach that has grown in their yard, focusing only on its monetary value rather than admiring it for its evident beauty and apparent magical qualities. Furthermore, they want to block out anyone who could interfere with their marketing of the peach (James especially) and they do not allow their despondent nephew to come near the peach.

Dahl's language regarding the peach's unbelievable expansion reflects the gradual, suspense-filled nature of its growth. It started growing gradually, and then faster, and then faster, and then finally it was at its full size. The peach's growth is the focus of Chapter 7, and James and his aunts sit and watch as the peach becomes bigger and bigger; they are fixated on the peach, just as an attentive reader should be fixated on this important moment of Dahl's story. Dahl also provides reference points (objects of different sizes, from melons to houses) to describe how large the peach has grown.

But the psychological aspects of the novel are not left behind, and James' longing for friends is further developed in Chapter 8. Thousands of young children have come with their families to see the peach, yet James can only listen to his aunts' instructions - namely, their order to stay away from the children. James is very lonely at this point, and he simply wants someone to talk to and to play with. The juxtaposition of the solitary, orphaned James and the many, swarming children visiting with family and friends is striking, and this contrast emphasizes James pathetic state.

Fear emerges as a theme in this portion of the novel as well. When James enters the fruit, he is initially very scared about the twists and turns of the tunnel. Moreover, he is frightened of the creatures that he meets once he is inside the peach. Dahl's writing matches the mood: the sentences are fast-paced and suspenseful in these passages. These initial struggles with fear set the stage for later bouts, when James will be forced to overcome his doubts and step into the role of a hero.