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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl

Chapters 13 and 14

Chapters 11 and 12

Chapters 15 and 16

Summary

The following morning, a large crowd gathers outside of the factory to see the golden ticket holders enter. The five children and their parents stand next to the gate, protected from the crowd. All of the children, except Charlie—who clings to Grandpa Joe—have both of their parents with them. And all of them need their parents to keep them from storming the gates. Charlie hears the conversations in the crowd beyond him. He hears someone identify Violet Beauregarde and notice that she is still chewing her record-breaking gum. Voices identify Augustus Gloop and call him enormous. Still more notice Mike Teavee and all his guns. One person calls him crazy. Another wants to see Veruca Salt, whose father bought her the golden ticket and anything else she screams for. Others respond that she is dreadful.

Another voice in the crowd asks, “Who is Charlie Bucket?” A responding voice says, “The shrimp standing with the skeleton.” Voices ask why Charlie is not wearing a coat and suppose that perhaps he cannot afford one. Charlie squeezes Grandpa Joe’s hand. Grandpa Joe looks down and smiles at Charlie just as the clock strikes ten, signaling that it is time to enter the factory. The great iron gates swing open. Everyone becomes quiet, and Mr. Wonka emerges.

Mr. Wonka is a small man with a goatee and a twinkle in his eyes. His is splendidly dressed in a plum jacket and green pants with a black top hat and gray gloves. He is full of energy, constantly looking and moving around. With a little dance in the snow he welcomes his guests. Mr. Wonka asks them to come one at a time with their parents and show him their tickets. Augustus Gloop goes first and Mr. Wonka greets Augustus and his parents, a process he repeats for each ticket holder. Next comes Veruca Salt. Mr. Wonka tells Veruca that she has an interesting name, explaining that he thought a veruca was a wart and then quickly moving on. Then comes Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teavee, who both get intense handshakes from Mr. Wonka. Finally, Charlie whispers his name to Mr. Wonka. Mr. Wonka greets Charlie kindly and tells him that he read about Charlie’s discovery of the ticket the night before in the morning’s paper. With the gate locking out the outside world behind them, the tour begins.

Mr. Wonka begins by explaining that the factory is very warm for his workers. When Augustus asks who the workers are, Mr. Wonka postpones an answer. Charlie stands in a corridor wide enough for a car and as long as he can see. He is excited by the warm climate. Grandpa Joe notes the amazing smell, and both he and Charlie hear the buzz of machines in the distance. Mr. Wonka asks everyone to hang their coats on the pegs provided and follow him. He hustles the five children and nine adults along at a swift pace. They all follow Mr. Wonka as he twists and turns down seemingly endless hallways. Grandpa Joe tells Charlie not to let go of his hand while Mr. Wonka points out that the hallways slope downward. Mr. Wonka explains that all the important rooms in his factory are underground because they are too big to fit above ground. After several more turns, Mr. Wonka stops in front of a metal door with the words “CHOCOLATE ROOM” written on it.

Analysis

This section begins with a clear delineation between the good children and the bad children, both by what is said and what is seen. The crowd outside the gates provides commentary on each of the five children. Predictably, the remarks about the four other children are harshly negative. Augustus is a pig, Veruca is nasty, Violet is an incessant gum chewer, and Mike Teavee is crazy. The only bad thing the crowd can say about Charlie is that he is small. They assume Charlie is poor because he is not wearing a jacket. All of the other children are dressed appropriately for the season. Veruca is even wearing an opulent fur. As before, Dahl creates another opportunity for Charlie—underdressed and without either parent—to appear saintlike, and Charlie’s endearing behavior is juxtaposed against that of the other children, each of whom are already misbehaving. The same delineation continues inside the factory. The group walks into an intensely warm factory, which Charlie immediately appreciates. None of the other children even notice. When Mr. Wonka explains that the warmth is critical for the survival of his workforce, Charlie is already aligned with the Oompa-Loompas, who will later be seen as innocent. Charlie looks all the more pitiable and good.

In these chapters, Mr. Wonka begins his battle with Veruca and seems almost eager to bring out her combative and spiteful nature, which only foreshadows the additional fighting to come. Another instance of foreshadowing occurs in the form of Mr. Wonka’s insistence that everyone keep up with his rapid pace. He says that he does not want to lose anyone at this point in the journey—this, of course, foreshadows the fact that he does eventually lose all of the children but Charlie. By saying that he does not want to lose any of them now, he subtly concedes that he plans to lose them later. His nonchalance is a good predictor of how he will react when each of the children earns a terrible punishment in the factory.

All of the most important rooms in the chocolate factory are underground, and therefore not visible to people above ground. Above ground and outside the gates of the factory, onlookers might assume that the factory comprises what they can see. In fact, they are wrong. Dahl uses this discrepancy as proof that things—especially in the factory—are not always what they seem, especially if people look beyond what is immediately in front of them or use a little imagination. Indeed, the ultimate prize at the end of the day is one beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

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