Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Chapters 9 and 10
The next day after school, Charlie finds only Grandpa Joe awake in bed. Grandpa Joe takes advantage of the private moment to sneak an ancient leather wallet out from under his pillow. Concealing it under the sheet, he tips the wallet upside down and out falls ten cents. Grandpa Joe tells Charlie that the others do not know about the money and that Charlie should use it for one final try at finding the golden ticket. Charlie asks Grandpa Joe if he is sure he wants to spend his money on a Wonka chocolate bar. Grandpa Joe assures Charlie that he is just as excited about finding the ticket as Charlie is. Charlie takes the money and runs to the store to purchase a chocolate bar. He returns immediately and the two prepare to unwrap the chocolate together.
After asking if Charlie is ready, Grandpa Joe tells Charlie to tear off the first bit. Charlie responds that his grandpa paid for the bar, so he should be the one to unwrap it. While giggling, Grandpa Joe tells Charlie that they have no chance of finding the ticket. Charlie knows and giggles as well. Then Grandpa Joe tells Charlie that there is a tiny chance that the ticket is there. Charlie says he knows and tells his grandpa to open the bar. He instructs Grandpa Joe to start from the far corner and tear a little, then he urges him to tear open the whole thing. Grandpa Joe tries to get Charlie to help, but he refuses. Finally Grandpa Joe rips the whole wrapper off and both he and Charlie stare at their ticketless bar of chocolate. Seeing the comedy of the scene, the two burst into laughter, waking Grandma Josephine. They hastily cover up their bar of chocolate
The weather begins to turn cold. Four feet of snow fall one evening, forcing Mr. Bucket to dig a path to the street. After the snow comes freezing winds. The cold accosts Charlie every time he leaves the house, and soon it even infiltrates the Bucket family house. No one even thinks about the last golden ticket—they only think about staying warm and getting enough to eat. The narrator reminds the reader that when the weather gets cold, people begin to crave sumptuous, warm foods. But Charlie gets nothing of the sort. As he eats his three cabbage meals a day, he grows even hungrier.
The toothpaste factory where Mr. Bucket works shuts down and he becomes unemployed. He makes some money shoveling snow, but it is not enough to feed the family. Charlie suffers even more on his daily journey past the chocolate factory. Noting Charlie’s frailty, Grandpa Joe declares that Charlie must have more food even if it means that the grandparents starve. Grandma Josephine explains that Charlie refuses to take food from anyone in the family. Grandpa George points out that Charlie deserves better. The weather gets worse and so does Charlie. He starts to do things a little differently to conserve energy: he leaves earlier for school so that he can walk more slowly, and he sits inside during recess to stay warm. While walking home from school one day, Charlie notices a green piece of paper half buried in the snow. It is a dollar bill. Charlie looks around to see who might have dropped it, but no one is there. He realizes that it now belongs to him. Charlie carefully extracts the dollar from the snow and gazes at it. Then he thinks of food. He begins immediately walking to the nearest store—a newspaper and candy shop—with a plan: he will buy one candy bar and give the rest of the money to his mother.
In these chapters, Dahl continues to establish Grandpa Joe as Charlie’s best friend and a model adult. Grandpa Joe sacrifices all he has to give Charlie another chance at finding a golden ticket. He shares secrets with Charlie, laughs with him, and generally treats him as an equal. Grandpa Joe’s close relationship with Charlie further aligns him with children and all the positive associations of childhood. Charlie appreciates Grandpa Joe’s friendship even more when his father loses his job. Another consequence, however, is that Charlie becomes even weaker. He suffers greatly, but he does not complain. Instead of complaining, which would be a reasonable response, Charlie shows valiance in his desire not to be a burden. His meekness makes him all the more sympathetic. Given the title of the book, this constitutes foreshadowing, as well as a reminder of the biblical maxim “the meek shall inherit the earth.”
Dahl rounds out Charlie’s character in this section. Charlie is not only saintly in his determination not to be a burden on anyone, but he is also ingenious. He is on the verge of starving to death, yet he refuses to complain or accept more food from his family members. Instead, he comes up with brilliant ways of conserving his energy: for example, he walks to school at a slower pace and stays inside during recess. By adding this layer to Charlie’s character, Dahl begins to change Charlie from a merely pitiable character to an admirable one with inner resources and strength.
Dahl also reinforces his moral undertones with a plot twist and a shift in narration. Using his omniscient voice, the narrator reminds readers that they usually get what they want, especially what they want to eat. Charlie does not, which makes him more pitiable. Serendipitously, Charlie finds a dollar bill buried in the snow, which can be seen as a reward for Charlie’s good nature. Charlie looks around for the rightful owner of the dollar bill, showing that he is not greedy like other children. This is a huge amount of money to Charlie, who appreciates even the smallest gifts. Charlie’s selflessness is confirmed by his plan to buy himself a chocolate bar and give the rest of his money to his mother. His one small indulgence is practically a necessity.
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!