Is Mrs. Pratchett really just a victim bullied by young boys in Boy?

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In Roald Dahl's Boy: Tales of Childhood, Mrs. Pratchett is a victim of the boys' prank, but she is definitely not only a victim.

Mrs. Pratchett is the unlikely owner of a sweetshop where Dahl and his friends go to buy candy. She is not at all...

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In Roald Dahl's Boy: Tales of Childhood, Mrs. Pratchett is a victim of the boys' prank, but she is definitely not only a victim.

Mrs. Pratchett is the unlikely owner of a sweetshop where Dahl and his friends go to buy candy. She is not at all a nice woman, always scolding the boys, thinking they are going to steal from her, and fishing candy out of jars with filthy hands. The children are appalled by her, and when children are appalled, they naturally think of ways in which to fix the adult who has frightened, scolded, and generally been quite nasty to them.

Dahl and his friends end up putting a dead mouse in one of the candy jars. But they immediately feel quite guilty and are afraid that Mrs. Pratchett will have a heart attack. She does not, but she does get her revenge. She marches straight up to the boys' school and identifies Dahl and four of his friends as the culprits. Mrs. Pratchett is certainly not content to shriek and clean up the broken jar and be done with it. She is out for blood.

The headmaster takes the boys into his office and hits them multiple times with a cane, very hard. Mrs. Pratchett sits in a chair nearby and cheers, telling the headmaster to "Lay it into 'im!" and hit them harder. "Warm 'is backside for 'im!" she yells, enjoying herself immensely. She seems to take great delight in the boys' pain.

Certainly, the boys were guilty of a prank, but Mrs. Pratchett was not an innocent victim. In fact, she shows just how nasty she truly is by the harsh punishment in which she takes so much delight.

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