Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Chapters 27 and 28
Mike Teavee pesters Mr. Wonka about the possibility of sending people by television. Mr. Wonka deems it possible, but he will not because of the danger. But Mike has already raced toward the camera. Mr. Wonka and Mike’s parents shout for him to stop, but they are too late. Mike jumps in front of the lens and disappears in a blinding flash of light. Mr. and Mrs. Teavee react to their son’s disappearance while Mr. Wonka ushers everyone to the television. While waiting for Mike to tune in, Mr. Wonka cautions the Teavees that sometimes only part of the chocolate appears. Suddenly the screen begins to flicker, and slowly Mike Teavee becomes clear, waving to everyone. He is one inch tall. Mrs. Teavee wants to know if Mike is all right, while Mr. Teavee consults Mr. Wonka about his size. Meanwhile, Mike tells everyone that he is the first person ever sent by television.
Mrs. Teavee grabs her son, as per Mr. Wonka’s instructions. He assures her that Mike is fine, but she disagrees. She vows to get rid of the television as soon as she gets home. Hearing this, Mike throws a tantrum, and Mr. Teavee shoves Mike into his breast pocket. Mr. Wonka suggests putting Mike on a stretching machine, saying he is unsure how far the boy will stretch or how thin he will be. But he assures the Teavees that he will fatten Mike up with a special dietary supplement. Mr. Wonka then sends the Teavees away with an Oompa-Loompa, telling them that everything will come out in the wash. The Oompa-Loompas then sing a song about the ills of television and the virtues of reading.
Grandpa Joe points out to Mr. Wonka that Charlie is the only child left. Mr. Wonka pauses, then reacts with wild excitement, congratulating Charlie on his victory. He says there is so much to do, including collecting people, and searches for a particular button in the glass elevator. Charlie recognizes that something crazy is about to happen, and although he is confused, he is not afraid. Like Grandpa, Joe he is excited. He watches Mr. Wonka reach for a button called “UP AND OUT,” and wonders where they are headed. The elevator takes off at a furious pace. Grandpa Joe yells with glee. Mr. Wonka yells for the elevator to go faster. Mr. Wonka then explains that he has been longing to press the “UP AND OUT” button for a long time but did not want to make a hole in the roof.
Grandpa Joe says the glass elevator will be destroyed when it crashes through the roof. Mr. Wonka concedes he may be right. With a huge crash, the elevator explodes through the roof of the factory and straight up into the sky. Grandpa Joe cries that the elevator is mad. Mr. Wonka presses a button that makes it stop in midair. Charlie looks down at the town below, feeling as though he is standing on air. Grandpa Joe asks how the elevator remains levitating, and Mr. Wonka explains it is powered by candy. He then draws their attention to the other children leaving the factory.
In these chapters, Mr. Wonka’s morality resonates with his guests for the first time. Mike Teavee’s obsession with television is clearly a terrible thing. Mike’s parents, who to this point have been complicit in the television’s parenting of their son, become convinced of the ills they have perpetuated. Mrs. Teavee assures everyone that she will be getting rid of the household television as soon as she arrives home. Mike’s reaction of horror almost parallels a drug addict being denied the beloved drug. The Oompa-Loompas hammer the point home in their moralizing song about how television watching is bad and reading is good. Here Dahl makes a shameless plug for his own work as an author.
Charlie and Grandpa Joe grow even closer in these chapters. For the first time in the story, Grandpa Joe doubts Mr. Wonka—he fears that the glass elevator will kill everyone. This is also the first time that Grandpa Joe and Charlie differ in their attitudes toward Mr. Wonka. All along Grandpa Joe has been Charlie’s partner in dreaming about Mr. Wonka’s factory, and he persistently disagrees with all of the other parents, who think that Mr. Wonka is a maniac. But only Charlie passes the final test. This further cements Charlie as the heir apparent to Mr. Wonka himself.
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