What happens in The BFG?

In The BFG, young orphan Sophie meets the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) one night when she can't sleep. He takes her back to his cave, where she meets nine other giants, all of whom eat humans. To stop the giants, Sophie and the BFG go to the Queen of England, who traps the giants in a pit.

  • The BFG kidnaps Sophie so that she can't tell anyone about his existence. He fears being captured and put in a zoo. He's much nicer than his fellow giants, who treat him terribly and eat human beings for every meal.

  • Determined to stop the giants, Sophie and the BFG devise a plan: they're going to plant a nightmare about man-eating giants during the Queen of England's sleep. To do this, they mix a number of dreams that the BFG has caught in his butterfly net.

  • The Queen of England decides to capture the giants instead of kill them. Her soldiers dig a huge pit, into which they throw the sleeping giants. Sophie and the BFG are rewarded for their services to the country.

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Extended Summary

As The BFG begins, Sophie lies in bed in an orphanage, unable to sleep. She creeps to the curtains to shut them against the moonlight. It is the Witching Hour, the time when everything is quiet and still, and she is curious about what the world looks like at this time. She sticks her head outside and sees a giant walking toward her carrying a suitcase and a huge, trumpet-like object. He puts something into the trumpet and inserts it into a window. Then he looks up and sees Sophie watching.

Sophie runs back to bed and covers herself with her blanket. After a moment, she peeks out and sees the giant’s eye peeking in. He grabs her out of her bed, blanket and all, and starts to run. His legs have some kind of magical power that makes him travel extremely fast, as if by flight, across the land and maybe the ocean, too. Eventually he comes to a big mountain. He pushes a round stone away from the side of the mountain and goes inside, rolling the stone to close the opening behind him.

When the giant sets Sophie down, she cowers in fear and begs him not to eat her. He laughs. “Just because I is a giant, you think I is a man-gobbling cannybull!” he roars. He explains that she is almost right because most giants are cannybulls. His neighbor, Bone-Crunching Giant, loves eating “human beans” from Turkey because they are juicy and delicious. He launches into a long explanation of the flavors of people from around the world. People from Greece taste greasy, people from Wales taste fishy, and so on. Sophie tries to change the subject, but when she fails she decides to face her fate. She asks the giant what kind of people he likes best. He roars:

Me gobbling up human beans! This I never!....I is the BIG FRIENDLY GIANT! I is the BFG.

Sophie demands to know why the BFG snatched her if he is so friendly. He says he had to prevent her from telling people that he exists. Otherwise people would hunt him down and lock him up in a zoo. Sophie admits that this is probably true, and the BFG says that she will have to live with him forever. He warns her never to go outside without him, or the other giants will eat her up. To prove this, he gives her a peek of his nine cannibalistic neighbors, all of whom eat several people every night. The BFG thinks this is wrong, but he cannot stop them because he is far smaller than the others.

The BFG worries that Sophie’s parents must be missing her by now, and she says she is an orphan. He cries when he hears about her grim life in the orphanage and the punishments she suffered at the hands of Mrs. Clonkers, who runs the orphanage. To change the subject, Sophie asks what he was doing when she first saw him. The BFG explains that he is a dream-blowing giant who spends nights giving children nice dreams. Dreams are invisible creatures that live wild in the air. The BFG uses his enormous ears to hear them flit past. He catches them with a net, “the same way you is catching buttery flies,” and puts them in jars to take to children at night.


(The entire section is 2,418 words.)