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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl

Study Questions & Essay Topics

Key Facts

Quiz

Study Questions

1. Would it have been possible to predict which child would win the chocolate factory after Mr. Wonka’s description of the beauty of the chocolate room?

Mr. Wonka cannot abide ugliness. Excluding Charlie, each of the children has an ugly part of his or her personality. Augustus is greedy, Violet is an excessive gum chewer, Veruca is a brat, and Mike Teavee is obsessed with television. Even before Mr. Wonka weighs in on the children’s foibles, other characters’ reactions dictate that they are indeed foibles. For instance, whenever Mr. Bucket reads about one of the ticket finders in the paper the grandparents inevitably discuss the shortcomings of these children. The crowd of spectators outside the chocolate factory reinforces the grandparents’ views of the other children by echoing their earlier sentiments. Only Charlie is without a similar character flaw. He is spared by the crowd, which can only say that he looks undernourished. Therefore it would be reasonable to assume that Charlie will outlast the others in the chocolate factory.

2. How does Grandpa Joe differ from other children’s fathers, and how does this difference represent the positive and negative aspects of adults according to the author?

Grandpa Joe differs from the other children’s fathers in many ways. First, he is much older than they are. He is also much more of a child at heart. His reaction to Charlie finding the golden ticket is even more excited than Charlie’s own reaction. Mr. Salt, on the other hand, is just satisfied to have mollified his daughter. Grandpa Joe is also the only adult who seems to think that Mr. Wonka is a genius. The other fathers and mothers call him crazy. But Grandpa Joe is amazed at everything Mr. Wonka says and does. Grandpa Joe is finally different because he seems to genuinely care about Charlie. The other fathers only seem to care when something bad happens to their children. It seems as though Mr. Dahl might believe that adults in general are not very good people. They are either not trustworthy or simply have no integrity. However, there might be one adult here and there, like Grandpa Joe, who can be a friend to a child.

3. What kind of child is Mr. Wonka looking for to run his factory?

Mr. Wonka finds Charlie to run his factory. Charlie is a small, quiet, incredibly selfless boy. He never accepts extra food from his parents, because it will mean taking away food from them. He never complains about his life, even though he sleeps on the floor, is too cold, and never has enough to eat. He never asks for anything and does what he is told. Along the way, Mr. Wonka discards many other children. These children are headstrong, greedy, selfish, and ignorant. Since Mr. Wonka gets rid of these other children, he must not be looking for those qualities Charlie possesses. He is looking for these qualities because he wants someone to run the factory the exact same way he runs it. If he chose one of the other children—or even worse, an adult—that person would not necessarily run the factory the way Mr. Wonka sees fit. By choosing Charlie, the dutiful child, Mr. Wonka ensures that his factory will continue to be run exactly the way he wants it long after he is gone.

Suggested Essay Topics

1. What do the Oompa-Loompas’ songs tell us about how children should be raised?

2. What qualities does Charlie have that make him the hero of this story? What do those qualities say about Roald Dahl’s opinions of children?

3. Why could Augustus, Violet, Veruca, and Mike never win the chocolate factory?

4. How might modern readers criticize Mr. Wonka’s treatment of the Oompa-Loompas and the naughty children?

5. How does Charlie and Chocolate Factory speak to the phrase “Good things come to those who wait”? What about “Good things come in small packages”?

6. Describe Mr. Wonka’s character. Is he a good and caring person, or a selfish and aloof one?

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