Earthworm in James & the Giant Peach

Instructor: Debra Patuto

Debra has taught at elementary levels and has an M.ed with certification in elementary education and special education

This lesson is about Earthworm, the large, strange, talking insect in the story 'James and The Giant Peach'. Let's jump right in and learn more about Earthworm and his relationship with James.


What if you weren't allowed to have any friends? How would that make you feel? It would make me feel sad and lonely, which is how the main character James felt in this story. Let's jump right in and learn more about James' journey to find friendship and about one of his new friends, Earthworm.

Where It All Began

In James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, the main character, James, is sent to live with his mean aunts after his parents suddenly die. Unfortunately for James, his aunts are mentally and verbally abusive and he isn't allowed to have friends. He is miserable and would love to find a way to escape. Wouldn't you?

One day, a strange old man comes to James' yard and hands him a white bag full of magical green objects. He is given strict instructions on how to use them with a promise that they will save him from his misery.

A Magical Mistake

We all make mistakes. Tripping and dropping something is a very common one to make. For James, this mistake leaves him in disbelief. The magical objects sink into the ground. All he can do is wait and see what will happen.

Soon enough, a giant peach the size of a house is growing in his yard. One night, James goes outside and follows a tunnel into the pit of the peach. This is where he unexpectedly meets some strange, large insects that can talk. How strange! This is just the beginning of James' journey to find happiness and friendship.


One of the strange, large, talking characters inside the giant peach is Earthworm. This pink-skinned, long, blind earthworm has an extremely negative sense of life. He seems to only be happy being miserable, and he sure likes to complain.

A pink-skinned, long blind earthworm

On the journey within the giant peach, Earthworm can't stop repeating his feelings of doom. He continuously tells all of the characters that they will surely soon die. What a horrible travel companion, don't you think? He would make me feel scared.

Argumentative is another word that would describe Earthworm. Ever argue with a friend or sibling over something silly? Well, this is exactly what frequently occurs between Earthworm and Centipede. Throughout the journey, they argue over silly things, like having legs versus not having legs.

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