Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Chapters 7 and 8
The four grandparents hail Charlie with birthday greetings as he enters their room the next morning. He carries his birthday present, a Wonka whipple-scrumptious fudgemallow delight bar. Everyone leans in as Charlie caresses the packaging. Mrs. Bucket reminds Charlie not to be too disappointed if the golden ticket is not inside: he cannot expect to be that lucky. Everyone else supports Mrs. Bucket’s conclusion. After all, there are only four tickets left. Grandpa Joe tells Charlie just to enjoy his birthday present. Though all the adults want to spare Charlie from disappointment, they also know that there is a small chance that the ticket will be inside. Grandpa Joe encourages Charlie to unwrap the chocolate bar so that he will not be late for school. Charlie begins to unwrap it slowly, then all of a sudden he tears away the wrapper and discovers that there is no golden ticket. Grandpa Joe chimes in that the bar was just what they all expected. Charlie smiles sadly and tries to offer some of his present to his family. Everyone staunchly refuses, even after Charlie tries again. Then he leaves for school.
That evening the third and fourth golden tickets finders are in the newspaper. Holding the newspaper close to his face (his eyes are bad and he cannot afford glasses), Mr. Bucket reads the account of Miss Violet Beauregarde’s discovery. Standing on a chair in the middle of her living room, surrounded by reporters and flashing cameras, Violet Beauregarde explains her find while furiously chomping on a piece of gum. She says that she is a gum chewer by trade who took a short break to find a golden ticket. She is almost never without a piece of gum in her mouth, except briefly at mealtimes when she takes it out and sticks it behind her ear for safekeeping. Though her mother finds her gum chewing unladylike, Violet does not care, and she criticizes her mother for yelling at her all day. Mrs. Beauregarde tries to defend herself, but Violet quickly reclaims the spotlight. She explains the piece of gum currently in her mouth represents a new record, surpassing her best friend’s old one: three months of nonstop chewing. She sticks it to the bedpost at night and begins chewing it first thing in the morning. Violet further explains that before she started chewing for the world record she used to change her piece of gum daily, sticking it on a button in the elevator in order to give an unsuspecting passenger a nasty surprise. She finishes by explaining that she is excited to go to Mr. Wonka’s factory and even more excited to get a lifetime supply of gum.
After the grandmothers announce their disgust over Violet, Mr. Bucket goes on to read about the Teavee household. Though surrounded by reporters and the accompanying hoopla, Mike Teavee, the fourth ticket holder, sits in front of a huge television, watching a violent show. He is annoyed by the reporters and yells at them to stop interrupting his television watching. He wears eighteen toy pistols strapped to his chest and jumps up and down, shooting them intermittently. The only thing he tells the reporters is how much he loves television. He watches all shows, even ones that do not have violence, but he loves gangster shows the most. He wants to star in one of them. Again the grandmothers weigh in on how awful the child in the paper sounds. Grandpa George reminds everyone that only one ticket remains, and his wife declares that a beastly child will end up with it.
Dahl continues to differentiate between children and adults, in these chapters through their different approaches to the future. The adults—Charlie’s parents and grandparents—do not want Charlie to be disappointed if he does not find the golden ticket in his birthday present. Each of them reminds Charlie that he has almost no chance of finding the ticket. But Charlie does not say anything in response. His silence is indicative of the fact that he is not preparing for disappointment: he remains optimistic against all odds. He approaches the search with a cautious optimism
In these chapters, Dahl continues to establish Grandpa Joe as Charlie’s best friend and as a model adult. One way he achieves this is through separating Grandpa Joe from the other adults in their desire to help Charlie avoid disappointment. Instead of reminding Charlie that he has virtually no chance to find the ticket, Grandpa Joe encourages him to enjoy his chocolate. Grandpa Joe is not interested in helping Charlie avoid disappointment by sacrificing excitement. He believes Charlie should be excited. At the same time, Grandpa Joe is there to soften the blow when Charlie is disappointed. In assigning Grandpa Joe childlike characteristics, Dahl reinforces the importance of childhood and points out that most adults are too far removed from childhood to benefit from it. Since childhood is so clearly an important thing, associating Grandpa Joe with it is a positive association.
Dahl continues to moralize about the other children and their parents. He depicts Violet Beauregarde as an idiot, but he shifts the blame from Violet to her parents when he shows Violet haranguing her mother. Mrs. Beauregarde is an ineffectual parent, so much of the blame for Violet’s behavior falls on her. The same can be said of the Teavees. Dahl depicts Mike as a television zombie. Mike does not want to talk to reporters and is upset at them for disturbing his television watching. He yells at them to be quiet and his parents do nothing to correct his behavior; in fact, they are barely even mentioned. In effect, the television serves as Mike’s parents. Though Violet’s excessive gum chewing and Mike’s obsession with television are vices, their parents are the real culprits.
Dahl uses foreshadowing in this section in different ways. Mike Teavee, in talking about his excessive television watching, says that he wants to be on television. In doing so he foreshadows his own demise at the hands of television. Later in the book Mike will televise himself and ruin his chances to win the chocolate factory. Dahl also uses foreshadowing in this section to support his contention that adults are bad. Grandma Georgina says that a beastly child will end up with the last ticket. In doing so, she sheds a negative light on all adults. In fact, it is Charlie, the perfect child and her own grandson, who will get the ticket. Equating Charlie with a beastly child makes Grandma Georgina and the other adults look foolish.
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!