Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Chapters 25 and 26
Mr. Wonka remarks that all the children are disappearing, but no one should worry because they will all be fine. He sizes up the remaining group and suggests moving on. Mike Teavee says he is tired and wants to watch television. Mr. Wonka replies that since Mike is tired, they should all take the elevator. He leads them into an elevator with a thousand buttons on each wall and the ceiling. Charlie notices that each button is labeled with a room name. Mr. Wonka explains that the elevator can travel in any direction and that it is made entirely of glass to allow for full viewing. Grandpa Joe reacts in wonder. Mike Teavee says there is nothing to see. Mr. Wonka tells the children to hurry up and pick a button. Mike asks if there is a television room. Mr. Wonka points to the TELEVISION ROOM button and Mike pushes it gleefully. The elevator takes off sideways, knocking over everyone except Mr. Wonka. Mr. Wonka helps a screaming Mrs. Teavee to her feet and instructs everyone to hold onto a strap. Charlie cannot reach and so he holds tight to Grandpa Joe’s legs. Mrs. Teavee fears the rollercoaster ride means the elevator is broken, but Mr. Wonka tells her to relax. Grandpa Joe checks to see if Charlie is all right, and Charlie responds that he loves the ride.
Mrs. Teavee says she is going to be sick, so Mr. Wonka gives her his hat. Mike Teavee tells Mr. Wonka to stop the elevator. He explains that it will not stop until it reaches the destination and then wonders out loud if anyone else is using the elevator shaft from the other direction. This horrifies the Teavees. Mr. Wonka says they are nearly at their destination and asks Mrs. Teavee not to soil his hat. A moment later the elevator stops. Mike Teavee wipes the sweat from his face and Mrs. Teavee refuses to ever ride the elevator again. As they exit, Mr. Wonka warns everyone to be very careful in the television room.
The group exits the elevator and steps into a blindingly white room. Mr. Wonka hands out dark glasses and tells everyone to wear them at all times. Protected by the glasses, Charlie looks around and sees a long white room. It is bare except for a camera at one end, which is surrounded by an army of Oompa-Loompas, and a television set at the other end, which is manned by a single Oompa-Loompa. The Oompa-Loompas near the camera wear spacesuits. Mr. Wonka excitedly explains that the room is for testing television chocolate. When Mike Teavee asks what television chocolate is, Mr. Wonka demands that he stop interrupting. Mr. Wonka thinks that television is bad, but in small doses it can be okay. He notes that children always want endless amounts of it. Mike Teavee chimes in his agreement. When Mr. Teavee tells Mike to shut up, Mr. Wonka thanks him and goes on to explain his interpretation of how real television works. Mike Teavee disagrees with Mr. Wonka, who feigns deafness. When Mike persists, Mr. Wonka tells him he is a nice boy, but he talks too much.
Mr. Wonka imagines spreading chocolate into every home in the same manner that television is spread. Mike Teavee declares it impossible, so Mr. Wonka does a demonstration. Six Oompa-Loompas carry in a bar of chocolate the size of a bed. Mr. Wonka explains that the chocolate has to start big, because, as with real television, the things shrink to fit the screen. He then calls for action but halts it to implore Mike Teavee to stand back. Mr. Wonka explains the danger of the camera and that the Oompa-Loompas wear spacesuits to protect themselves from the rays. Again Mr. Wonka calls for action, and the chocolate bar disappears. Mr. Wonka explains that it is traveling overhead in a million pieces and rushes everyone over to the television. The chocolate bar appears on screen and Mr. Wonka tells the children to take it. Mike Teavee laughs at Mr. Wonka, saying he cannot take a picture off of a screen. Mr. Wonka then orders Charlie to take it and Charlie does so, though he nearly drops it out of astonishment. Mr. Wonka tells Charlie to eat the chocolate while Grandpa Joe exclaims his amazement. Mr. Wonka explains he will use television chocolate to advertise his chocolate directly into people’s homes and hands. Grandpa Joe is astounded.
The moralizing tone persists in these chapters. Mr. Wonka tells everyone not to worry about the other children because everything will work out. The children in the story—as well as the reader—must trust Mr. Wonka that their punishments are justified and not overly harsh. Mr. Wonka continues moralizing when he talks about television. His contention that television is not a bad thing when used in moderation is immediately followed by his disclaimer that children can rarely accept moderation. In essence, Mr. Wonka claims that television is always bad for children.
Charlie and Grandpa Joe are again distinguished from everyone else during the elevator ride. They love the crazy elevator, and they don’t fall for Mr. Wonka’s joke about someone else possibly using the elevator shaft. In short, they trust him. The Teavees do not. Mrs. Teavee is on the verge of being sick and Mike Teavee even asks Mr. Wonka to stop the ride. Charlie and Grandpa Joe comport themselves like excellent guests, but the same cannot be said for the Teavees. Charlie further separates himself from Mike by picking up on small warnings, such as the imminent danger in the television room. Mike does not care to notice this, even after Mr. Wonka explains it to him. It is clear that he will not heed Mr. Wonka’s warnings to be careful, so Mike’s demise becomes easy to predict.
Mr. Wonka’s affection for Charlie continues to grow. When Mr. Wonka asks Mike Teavee to take the televised chocolate from the screen, Mike says he can’t. His lack of respect and lack of imagination doubly insult Mr. Wonka. When Mr. Wonka asks Charlie to try and take the chocolate bar off of the screen, he suspends his disbelief and reaches for it. His attempt to take the chocolate bar shows Charlie to be dutiful (he listens to directions) and respectful (he does what he is told by his elders), two traits that Mr. Wonka clearly values in children. Finally, Mr. Wonka reinforces the distinction between Mike and Charlie by calling Charlie by his full name. This is a sign of respect, and it is something he does not do for any other child inside the factory. Charlie is enamored of Mr. Wonka, and Grandpa Joe has nothing but praise for Mr. Wonka, adding to Mr. Wonka’s omnipotence in Charlie’s mind.
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