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Roald Dahl’s biography

  • British novelist, descending from Norwegians;

  • Author of short stories and screenwriter, he is famous as a story writer for both children and adults:

  • He wrote the famous infantile story, “Charlie and the Chocolate factory”, which was launched in 1964 in the United States and got great success in the bookstores;

  • Other books written by this author are: “the Gremlins”, written in 1943, “James and the Peach Gigante”, “Matilda” and “Boy”.


The characters are crucial in the development of this story because they are the persons who decide the orientation that this story leads. There are two different characters’ categories that can interfere in the story: the other characters’ participation can change the route of some present events but the main characters give a particular direction to this story after each gesture, each choice, each act.

There are eight different characters in this story. Mr. and Mrs. Bixby are the main characters and the Colonel, aunt Maude, Wilkins, the taxi-driver, the pawnbroker and Miss Pulteney are the other characters.
Mr. Bixby was a dentist that lived with Mrs. Bixby in a smallish apartment somewhere in New York City. He was being betrayed by the Colonel but he was betraying Mrs. Bixby with his assistant, Miss Pulteney. To Mr. Bixby, he wore ridiculous clothes.
The Colonel was a healthy and rich gentleman that lived in a charming house on the suburbs of the town. He was Mrs. Bixby boyfriend and he hadn’t a wife or family. When he met with Mrs. Bixby, he transformed her in a person of subtle and exotic talents.

Miss Pulteney is Mr. Bixby’s assistant and she had an affair with him. In the final part of the story, she received from Mr. Bixby the Colonel’s Coat.

Wilkins was the Colonel’s groom, a small wizened dwarf with grey skin.

Aunt Maude was an old, poor and sweet lady that lived in Baltimore. She was an alibi to Mrs. Bixby and her dates with the Colonel.

Pawnbroker was a mysterious and arrogant man that didn’t make easier the trades between him and his clients.

The taxi-driver was a helpful person that helped Mrs. Bixby to found an opened Pawnbroker.

How does the attitude of the characters change the story?

If aunt Maude didn’t exist, Mrs. Bixby wouldn’t have an alibi to her dates with the Colonel. So, her husband could discover her dates with her boyfriend.

If the Colonel didn’t exist, Mrs. Bixby could have found another boyfriend, but no so rich and delicate as him.
The taxi-driver changed the story because he decided to which Pawnbroker Mrs. Bixby would go to save her new coat.
If the Pawnbroker wasn’t open, Mrs. Bixby had no one to save the coat.
In conclusion, the Colonel influenced the attitude of Mrs. Bixby, mainly when he made Mrs. Bixby lie to her husband (she told that she would visit her aunt when she visited her boyfriend). Also Mr. Bixby had an affair, with his secretary. This fact transforms this story into a pack of lies and mysteries. The attitudes and the continuous consequences decide the way as this story evolves.

Social status

  • Social status is the "standing", the honour or prestige attached to one's position in society. Note that social status is influenced by social position;

  • Mrs Bixby and Mr Bixby live in a small apartment in New York City. As a dentist he has a good economic status and his family belongs to the upper middle class, also known as the “bourgeoisie”;

  • Mrs Bixby’s aunt lives in Baltimore and is a woman who lives short of money and cannot afford buying presents like a luxurious coat;

  • Miss Pulteney belongs to the working class and believes that having an affair with her boss will allow her to show a better social status.

Military Institutions

The United States of America is a country in North America that is from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. The USA is a federal constitutional republic with its capital in Washington. There are 50 states which all have separate government (and laws). The USA has a vast economic, political and military influence on the global scale, which makes its foreign policy a subject of great interest and discussion around the World. For example, the Iraqi situation is now well-known all over the world, with some countries that approve the invasion and others who think that it was failed and that the troops should retire immediately.

In the presentation we will start to introduce briefly each of the American military institutions and then we’ll explore the male ethics within military institutions, how well does the Colonel represent them and why did Mrs. Bixby choose to commit adultery. Was it because of the Colonel’s social status or because she really loved him?

The United States has a long stating tradition of civilian over military affairs. The Department of Defense administrates the U.S. Armed Forces which compromise the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps., the Air Force and the Coast Guard.

Army: The United States Army is the largest branch of the United States Armed Forces and has primary responsibility for land bases, military operations. The U.S.A. Army is lead by a civilian Secretary of the Army, who reports to the Secretary of Defense, as well as the U.S.A. Army chief of staff, who is a member of the joint chief of staff, the top ranking military commanders from each service who advices the President on military matters.
Navy: The United States Navy is responsible for conducting naval operations. Its stated mission is “to maintain, train and equip combat ready Naval forces, capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining the freedom of the seas.”
Marines: Marines are primarily a Naval and amphibious force. Marines’ units also operate from warships, such as landing craft and amphibious vehicle units on amphibious support ships or aircraft squadrons on aircraft carriers. They are also used for coastal or riverine boat patrols and security of naval bases. Marines are usually elite highly mobile troops, and are used in situations that do not always involve naval elements. The United States Marine Corps., the largest in the World, is often used as a spearhead for major military offensives or as a stopgap. Marines were part of the Navy and served onboard warships.
Air Force: The USAF is the aerospace branch of the United States. It once was part of the U.S. Army. It is the largest and most technologically advanced Air Force in the World. Their stated mission is to “deliver sovereign options for the defense the U.S.A. and its global interests – to fly and fight in Air, Space and Cyberspace.

Coast Guard: The Coast Guard falls under the jurisdiction of The Department of Homeland and Security in peacetime but is placed under the Department of the Navy in times of war. At other times, Coast Guard Port Security Units are sent overseas to guard the security of ports and other assets. This force also does join operations with Navy.

Connection with the story: After this brief presentation, we will now try to find the role of the Military Institutions in Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat. We can read in the text that “The Colonel was exceedingly wealthy. He lived in a charming house on the outskirts of the town.” We also know that he had some loyal servants, horses and used to hunt the fox.
He was also interested in showing he was wealthy. The expensive coat he offered Mrs. Bixby represents this. Now the question is: was this the reason why Mrs. Bixby chose to commit adultery? Or love was also a reason?

Along the text, we found no clear evidences of love between Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel which makes us assume that the true reason was her wish to become richer, what she did’nt get with her husband’s modest job.

Roald Dahl participated in the IIWW. He served the US Air Force as Wing Commander, which is a status within fighter pilots. He had to return to England because he got injured. We think that this was important for the choice of the Colonel as one of the most important characters of the story
Conclusion: In this work, we explored the five forces that are part of the United States of America Department of Defense. We hope that you now have better knowledge of these forces and their missions. Finally, we tried to link the Military Institutions and the story using the Colonel’s character.

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