Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Chapters 29 and 30
Mr. Wonka brings the glass elevator lower to allow Charlie to see the other children leaving the factory. Charlie only notices three other children, and Mr. Wonka explains that Mike Teavee will be along soon. He then explains that the trucks below are filled with the first installment of a lifetime supply of chocolate for each child. Mr. Wonka points out Augustus Gloop, who is now quite thin. Mr. Wonka explains that each of the other children has changed. Augustus is thinner from being squeezed in the pipe. Violet is blue in the face, though she seems otherwise normal. Veruca is covered with garbage. Then Mike Teavee appears, taller and thinner than anyone else. Charlie thinks it is terrible that Mike has clearly been overstretched. But Mr. Wonka assures him that the mistake will be fortunate for Mike, who will now be pursued by every basketball team in the country. Mr. Wonka sends the elevator skyward again, telling Charlie that he must speak to him about something important.
Mr. Wonka tells Charlie how much he loves his chocolate factory. He then asks what Charlie thinks of it, and Charlie replies that he loves it too. Thrilled with Charlie’s response, Mr. Wonka explains to Charlie that he has decided to give the factory to him. Charlie is speechless. Grandpa Joe thinks he is joking, but Mr. Wonka assures him that he is not. He explains to Charlie that he is an old man and cannot go on forever. He is looking for a child like Charlie who will run the factory exactly the way he has always run it. He believes an adult would want to change things, and he does not want that. Charlie immediately understands the idea behind the golden tickets. Mr. Wonka explains that the child he liked best would get the factory. Grandpa Joe remains skeptical.
Mr. Wonka turns the elevator in the direction of Charlie’s home. He explains that Charlie’s entire family can move into the factory. Charlie says his mother will not be able to come because she must tend to his other grandparents. Mr. Wonka says Charlie’s grandparents can come too and assures Charlie the details will sort themselves out. He then announces that he will crash right through the roof of Charlie’s home. Charlie and Grandpa Joe shout for him to stop, but they are too late. The elevator crashes through the roof, raining debris on the Bucket family. Mr. and Mrs. Bucket run into the room, amazed at the damage, while the grandparents shout for help. Grandpa Joe, Charlie, and Mr. Wonka exit the elevator, telling everyone to remain calm as they recount their story. The grandparents scream and refuse to leave the house. Ignoring their screams, Mr. Wonka, Charlie, and Grandpa Joe push the bed into the elevator. Mr. and Mrs. Bucket follow them. As the elevator ascends, Charlie calms his grandparents by explaining that they are going to the most wonderful place in the world. One grandparent wonders if there will be food at their destination. Charlie laughs in response, telling them to wait and see.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ends on a decidedly happy note. Dahl completes his moralizing by marching the punished kids before the winner. All of the formerly bad kids have changed for the better. To prove this point, Mr. Wonka explains to Charlie that even though Mike Teavee is overstretched, making him looking like an emaciated giant, the overstretching will make Mike the envy of every basketball coach in the country. Showing each of the punished kids alive and well validates the author’s cruelty to them. In effect, Dahl is showing that he had to be cruel to the kids in order to help them get better. The children are the beneficiaries of Mr. Wonka’s kindness, even if he seemed cruel in the process.
Dahl continues in these chapters to separate grandfather and grandson in order to make Charlie the only possible candidate to take over the factory. Just as Grandpa Joe doubts Mr. Wonka’s glass elevator, he is skeptical about Mr. Wonka giving Charlie the chocolate factory. Grandpa Joe’s skepticism further highlights Charlie as the only one who never lost faith in Mr. Wonka. This final distancing of Grandpa Joe from Charlie solidifies Dahl’s contention throughout the novel that children are good and adults are not. Those children who do not seem good are that way because of poor parenting.
Dahl ends the novel by reframing how a child ought to be. Mr. Wonka explains the author’s position when he outlines how Charlie is the perfect child to run the factory. Charlie has to be respectful, which he has already established. He also has to be willing to do things exactly as Mr. Wonka wants them done, which his unflagging faith in Mr. Wonka predicts. Finally he needs to have the imagination and love for the factory that will ensure future success. Charlie’s acknowledgment that he too loves the factory proves to Mr. Wonka beyond any doubt that Charlie is the one.
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