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Mr. Willy Wonka, the eccentric owner of the greatest chocolate
factory in the world, has decided to open the doors of his factory
to five lucky children and their parents. In order to choose who
will enter the factory, Mr. Wonka devises a plan to hide five golden
tickets beneath the wrappers of his famous chocolate bars. The search
for the five golden tickets is fast and furious. Augustus Gloop,
a corpulent child whose only hobby is eating, unwraps the first
ticket, for which his town throws him a parade. Veruca Salt, an
insufferable brat, receives the next ticket from her father, who
had employed his entire factory of peanut shellers to unwrap chocolate
bars until they found a ticket. Violet Beauregarde discovers the
third ticket while taking a break from setting a world record in
gum chewing. The fourth ticket goes to Mike Teavee, who, as his
name implies, cares only about television.
Charlie Bucket, the unsuspecting hero of the book, defies
all odds in claiming the fifth and final ticket. A poor but virtuous
boy, Charlie lives in a tiny house with his parents, Mr. and Mrs.
Bucket, and all four of his grandparents. His grandparents share
the only bed in the house, located in the only bedroom, and Charlie
and his parents sleep on mattresses on the floor. Charlie gets three
sparse meals a day, which is hardly enough to nourish a growing
boy, As a result, he is almost sickly thin. Once a year, on his
birthday, Charlie gets one bar of Wonka chocolate, which he savors
over many months. The Bucket family’s circumstances become all the
more dire when Mr. Bucket loses his job. But a tremendous stroke
of luck befalls Charlie when he spots a raggedy dollar bill buried
in the snow. He decides to use a little of the money to buy himself
some chocolate before turning the rest over to his mother. After
inhaling the first bar of chocolate, Charlie decides to buy just
one more and within the wrapping finds the fifth golden ticket.
He is not a moment too soon: the next day is the date Mr. Wonka
has set for his guests to enter the factory.
Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Bucket can accompany Charlie to the
factory. Mr. Bucket must search for work to put food on the table
and Mrs. Bucket must care for the invalided grandparents. Magically, Charlie’s
oldest and most beloved grandparent, Grandpa Joe, springs out of
bed for the first time in decades. Charlie’s lucky find has transformed
him into an energetic and almost childlike being. Grandpa Joe and
Charlie set out on their adventure.
In the factory, Charlie and Grandpa Joe marvel at the
unbelievable sights, sounds, and especially smells of the factory.
Whereas they are grateful toward and respectful of Mr. Wonka and
his factory, the other four children succumb to their own character
flaws. Accordingly, they are ejected from the factory in mysterious
and painful fashions. Augustus Gloop falls into the hot chocolate river—while
attempting to drink it—and is sucked up by one of the many pipes.
Veruca Salt is determined to be a “bad nut” by nut-judging squirrels
who throw her out with the trash. Violet Beauregarde impetuously
grabs an experimental piece of gum and chews herself into a giant
blueberry. She is consequently removed from the factory. With the
hope of being on his beloved television, Mike Teavee shrinks himself,
and his father has to carry him out in his breast pocket. During
each child’s fiasco, Mr. Wonka alienates the parents with his nonchalant
reaction to the child’s seeming demise. He remains steadfast in
his belief that everything will work out in the end.
After each child’s trial, the Oompa-Loompas beat drums
and sing a moralizing song about the downfalls of greedy, spoiled
children. When only Charlie remains, Willy Wonka turns to him and congratulates
him for winning. The entire day has been another contest, the prize
for which is the entire chocolate factory, which Charlie has just
won. Charlie, Grandpa Joe, and Mr. Wonka enter the great glass elevator,
which explodes through the roof of the factory and crashes down
through the roof of Charlie’s house, where they collect the rest
of the Bucket family.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!