Concerning the adventures of four nasty children and Our Hero with Mr. Willy Wonka and his famous candy plant
—Front cover text from the original edition
Charlie Bucket is an angelic boy who lives with his parents and grandparents in a small hovel. When Willy Wonka, a reclusive businessman, announces a competition to allow five lucky children into his chocolate factory, Charlie wins one of the places against high odds.The other four children turn out to be deeply unpleasant: Augustus Gloop is a glutton, Veruca Salt is a Spoiled Brat, Mike Teavee is obsessed with violent TV and Violet Beauregarde is a rude, pushy compulsive gum-chewer - utterly obsessed with winning. Willy Wonka himself proves to be an eccentric inventor, obsessed with confectionery.The five children tour the factory, a wonderland of bizarre and improbable inventions, but one by one the children suffer almost lethal karmic fates, each underscored by a moralising Crowd Song from Mr. Wonka's Oompa-Loompas. When only Charlie is left, Mr. Wonka reveals he was actually looking for an heir.Perhaps Roald Dahl's best-known work, this 1964 children's novel is an excellent example of Adaptation Overdosed, ranging from a non-musical stage play and a BBC radio play to a theme park ride and video games. (This is particularly impressive given that it's not yet in the public domain.) The following adaptations warrant their own pages:
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971): The first film adaptation and most famous adaptation period. Dahl actually wrote the original screenplay, but it was heavily revised by David Seltzer and for this and other reasons he ultimately disowned it.
The novel has a sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, in which the elevator shoots into space, Mr. Wonka stops shapeshifting aliens, and Charlie's grandparents get into trouble with a de-aging potion. Unfortunately, Dahl was so disgusted at how the 1971 film turned out that he forbade any adaptations of the sequel (aside from a stage play by Richard George, whose adaptation of the first book received Dahl's blessing).This story — particularly the 1971 adaptation — is a stock parody: Charlie and the Chocolate Parody. It is also the Trope Namer for The Wonka: An eccentric authority figure whose success comes from their quirkiness (rather than in spite of it).See also the extensive character sheet.
This novel provides examples of:
An Aesop: Every Oompa-Loompa song in the book is An Aesop presented in rhyming verse that comes on the heels of one of the brats' comeuppances. They also qualify as...
Space Whale Aesop: Don't be a glutton, a gum chewer, a spoiled brat, or a TV fanatic, or you will get sucked up a pipe, inflated into a blueberry, fall into a trash chute, or get shrunk, respectively.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: During the Golden Ticket frenzy, a scientist invents a machine that can detect and grab anything with gold in it in hopes of using it to find a Wonka Bar with a ticket inside. It is destroyed when he demonstrates it to a crowd and it recognizes, and tries to remove, a duchess's gold filling.
Author Tract: Four kids are punished for their flaws, and the one perfect kid inherits a huge chocolate factory. Whilst no one would deny that Veruca Salt's brattishness probably got her what she deserved, obesity, gum-chewing and TV addiction (particularly the latter) are more personal bugbears of Dahl's. You could argue that these habits are symptoms of the kids' general Jerkass behaviour which, as Dahl also points out, is indulged by their parents.
Balloon Belly: A variation: The experimental gum is no larger or different-looking than a stick of regular chewing gum, and it's designed to make the chewer feel no more or less full than if they were having a three-course meal. But owing to a flaw that Mr. Wonka hasn't yet figured out, once Violet hits the dessert course — blueberry pie — she swells up in classic Balloon Belly fashion, actually turning into a giant blueberry.
Big Labyrinthine Building: The factory; it has hundreds upon hundreds of rooms and corridors and it's clear that between the novel and its sequel the visitors are only privy to a tiny fraction of them thus far.
Billions of Buttons: The Great Glass Elevator is lined with buttons, with one for every room of the massive factory and others serving other functions (such as the notorious "Up and Out").
Bizarrchitecture: Within this Elaborate Underground Base, there's the mostly-edible Chocolate Room and the chocolate river system just for starters. Via the Great Glass Elevator, even more strange rooms are glimpsed or mentioned in passing: "The Rock-Candy Mine — 10,000 feet deep", a caramel lake, and a fudge mountain. In the sequel, there's also a room where chocolate gushes from the ground the way oil can, and the elevator can even go all the way down to a dreary Minus World.
Bowdlerise / Orwellian Retcon: The original Oompa-Loompas were black and specifically mentioned to be from Darkest Africa. After numerous people pointed out the Unfortunate Implications of Willy Wonka as a slave owner, later printings changed them to the white and somewhat hippie-ish inhabitants of Loompaland to make the concept less overtly racist. Adaptations have gone in a variety of directions to visualize the Oompa-Loompas, but all reflect the revised version of their origins. (Additionally, regarding the latter trope, the character of Veruca Salt was originally known as Veruca Cruz.)
Black Comedy: Terrible things can happen in the Wonka factory, and they're all played for laughs (though the victims and their parents certainly don't see the humor!).
Break the Haughty: Veruca Salt gets the most humiliating comeuppance of the four naughty kids (thrown down a rubbish chute) when her sense of entitlement leads her to try capturing one of the Nut Room's squirrels.
Cloud Cuckoo Land: The titular factory — home to a huge population of mischevious, singing-and-dancing Oompa-Loompas, and created and run by a brilliant eccentric. The further into it one ventures, the stranger things get. Incidentally, the theme park ride adaptation of this book at Alton Towers is located in the area known as...wait for it...Cloud Cuckoo Land!
Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: A "wanting something you know you can't have" example. Because Charlie is too poor to enjoy chocolate with the exception of his annual birthday bar, it's painful for him to walk by shops with chocolate bars in the windows, to see other kids enjoying them, and worst of all, to live near the world's largest chocolate factory.
Consolation Prize: Along with the tour, the Golden Ticket finders are promised a lifetime supply of sweets. This turns out to be a consolation prize, since one of the finders will become Mr. Wonka's heir and thus inherit the whole factory — and, as Charlie assures Grandma Josephine in the final lines, they'll definitely never want for food again.
Conspicuous Consumption: Prince Pondicherry, who commissioned a palace made entirely out of chocolate from Willy Wonka. It was all well and good until the hot sun melted it...
Cool Boat: Mr. Wonka has one that looks like a Viking longship but is made of pink sugar (it was made by carving/hollowing a huge, boiled sweet). All major adaptations have a fancy boat for Mr. Wonka, whether its appearance hews to the book's or not.
Cool Old Guy: Downplayed with Grandpa Joe, the most fun-loving of Charlie's bedridden grandparents, who ultimately accompanies Charie to the factory. He's always the secondary adult lead in adaptations.
*Cough* Snark *Cough*: Inverted as a Running Gag! Whenever a guest says something he doesn't want to hear/reply to, Willy Wonka claims that he just can't understand them (specifically accusing Mike Teavee of mumbling), even though they are speaking clearly — or, at one point in the 2005 film adaptation, outright yelling at him.
Crapsaccharine World / False Utopia: One of the few positive portrayals of these settings. A mostly cheerful and happy-looking candy factory with dancing Oompa-Loompas who teach children important values but at the same time these children are taught these values in ways that could (and in at least one adaptationdo) bring upon their deaths, which would mean that they never have a chance to learn from their mistakes. The way Mr. Wonka nonchalantly describes these events adds to the atmosphere. In the 1971 film adaptation sheer luck spares Charlie and Grandpa Joe from what would be the most gruesome death of the bunch. And the Oompa-Loompas are only paid in cacao beans and/or chocolate. Still, the Wonka factory is portrayed in an overall positive manner as a land of wonder and imagination in contrast to the grim outside world: full of nasty, foolish, rude, conniving people who seem to get all the breaks in life and feel themselves to be above the rules while the sweet, selfless, rule-following people tend to finish last.
Crunchtastic: Charlie finds his Golden Ticket in a Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight Wonka Bar. The 1971 movie has its own Crunchtastic equivalent, the Scrumdidilyumptious Bar.
Cultural Translation: Certain terms/items used in the U.K. text are changed in U.S. editions: a fifty-pence piece becomes a dollar bill, the Square Sweets That Look Round become Candies, the Great Glass Lift becomes the Great Glass Elevator, etc. This had an interesting effect on the sequel, which was released in the U.S. first and specifically locates Charlie's hometown and the factory to that country. The U.K. edition has extra dialogue added to the opening chapter to cover for the book using elevator in place of lift. (Mr. Wonka explains that now that the lift is flying, elevator is a better term for it.) All adaptations use the term elevator throughout, including the 2013 musical which otherwise sticks to the U.K. text.
Daddy's Girl: Veruca Salt, whose doting parents — but especially her father — made her into a little monster. This may explain why Mrs. Salt is alwaysDemoted to Extra or Adapted Out in adaptations.
Dangerous Workplace: The factory practically runs on NOOSHA Compliance, and the crazy inventions being tested on the Oompa-Loompas have resulted in such mishaps as one growing so much hair that "we had to use a lawn mower to keep it in check", 20 of them being turned into blueberries, one floating off into space, and (in the sequel) 131 being de-aged out of this plane of existence, though it's implied or stated that most of them were rescued. Note that Mr. Wonka, when similar disasters happen to his visitors, talks about the solutions as if they were standard safety procedures.
Death World: Loompaland, the Oompa-Loompas' home country. On the ground, they were constantly at the mercy of carnivorous beasts. Creating a Tree Top Town helped with that problem, but they still faced a general lack of palatable food...
Developing Doomed Characters: One reason the story doesn't actually get to the factory until a third of the way in is because it's establishing so many characters, including the four brats.
Disastrous Demonstration: The gold-detecting machine gets one of these. By comparison, in Willy Wonka's factory his demonstrations of the Great Gum Machine and Television Chocolate go off as planned; it's the brats' meddling afterward that causes trouble.
Disproportionate Retribution: What happens to most of the kids qualifies. Their punishments are brought on by their flaws, but are still excessive. Even though they all live and recover to some extent, they have some unpleasant permanent changes. Violet, for example, is no longer inflated, but is still blue. Just for chewing gum. (Of course, this is common in Dahl's works; they get off relatively easy compared to what happens to the villains in some of his other books.)
Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Throughout the tour, Mr. Wonka keeps warning his guests not to touch/disturb potentially dangerous things, but in turn, each of the four brats comes upon something that they want and proceeds to disregard him, with disastrous results.
Dramatis Personae: The five children are listed/described in this manner before the story proper begins. The text is quoted over at Anvilicious.
Elaborate Underground Base: Most of the factory is underground, which allows for its immense size. It's large enough that it has whole villages for the Oompa-Loompas to live in!
Elevator Gag: The Great Glass Elevator can go sideways as well as up and down to reach any room in the factory — and can even fly through the air if one presses a certain button. This isn't even getting into what it's capable of in the sequel.
Fairy Tale: Albeit one based on mad science rather than magic.
Famed in Story: Both Willy Wonka and his factory, even more so after he sacked his original workforce, became a recluse, and then managed to get the place up and running again without anyone being seen entering or leaving it. All the rest of the world can do is speculate as to who the mysterious shadows seen in the factory's windows belong to.
Fat Bastard: Augustus Gloop. Veruca's mother Angina isn't much better.
Fictional Country: Loompaland. Even the characters in-story, aside from Willy Wonka, have never heard of it — and one's a teacher of geography!
Follow the Leader: In the Backstory, Mr. Wonka's rival candymakers found themselves having to do this. But since they could never come up with anything as good as his creations, they did so by outright stealing his recipes and duplicating them (the Joseph Schindelman illustrations present one company even advertising their version of one of his products as "Just like Wonka's").
Food End: In the final scene, Charlie, now heir to the titular chocolate factory, and his family head there via the Great Glass Elevator to live in it. Grandma Josephine asks "Will there be anything to eat when we get there?" and Charlie replies "Just you wait and see!" This gets an override in the Immediate Sequel, as the trip back becomes the start of a variety of further adventures.
Food Pills: The three-course-dinner chewing gum is a variant. It does manage to avoid the conventional problems with food in pill form — it's clear Mr. Wonka thought both of the psychological need to do something resembling eating over a period of time and of the physical need for stomach fullness. He's just not through with the new set of problems created by the solution...
Free Prize at the Bottom: The Golden Ticket contest works this way, with the twist that only five Wonka Bars contain tickets. Those who can afford to do so buy up the bars in bulk in hopes of finding a ticket, and Veruca Salt getting hers is an extreme case of this.
From Bad to Worse: In Chapter 10, a harsh, long winter falls upon Charlie's town...and then his father loses his job. Not for nothing is the chapter titled "The Family Begins to Starve", and Charlie suffers the most, partially due to his selflessness; the rest of his family is perfectly willing to let him have some of their shares of food, but he won't take them. He's Nothing but Skin and Bones by the time he finally gets a break in the form of the Golden Ticket.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: The snozzberry. In My Uncle Oswald, by the same author... well, let us just say that snozzberry does not refer to a fruit.
Giant Food: The legendary chocolate river. As well, because sending something by television results in it being shrunken, the chocolate bar that Mr. Wonka sends in a demonstration is initially the size of a mattress, so it will come out normal-sized on the screen.
Goggles Do Something Unusual: The Television-Chocolate Room is so brightly lit — on top of its being a White Void Room — that the only way to avoid discomfort/blindness while in it is to wear special dark glasses (actually goggles in the film versions) at all times.
Hate Sink: All four brats — much of the book's Black Comedy comes from seeing them getting what's coming to them for being such jerks. Of course, there are readers who think the brats get Disproportionate Retribution for their bad habits, which is probably why more recent adaptations tend to make them more obnoxious, if not outright wicked (as in the case of the 2013 musical with regards to Mike Teavee). They're still not outright villains, though.
Help, I'm Stuck!: Augustus falls into the Chocolate Room's river and is sucked into and subsequently trapped in a glass pipe...until the pressure of the chocolate he's blocking forces him through.
Hidden Elf Village: The Tree Top Town in Loompaland was one for the Oompa-Loompas, affording them some safety from predators. In its way, Mr. Wonka's factory is this for them in the present — he transported them into it in secret, and they even have their own system of villages within it. Thus, the factory runs without anyone being seen entering or exiting it, and outsiders can only wonder what's going on.
Impossibly Delicious Food: Willy Wonka's candies have a reputation for being the best in the world, hence his rivals sending in spies to steal the recipes for them. This was what forced him to become a Reclusive Artist.
I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Veruca attempts to take one of the Nut Room's squirrels when Mr. Wonka refuses to sell her one. This does not end well...
Indestructible Edible: Exaggerated with Everlasting Gobstoppers. Developed "for children with very little pocket money", these candies are designed to never grow smaller no longer how long one sucks upon them.
Infinite Supplies: Willy Wonka; despite spending years as a recluse and only occasionally venturing into the outside world, he has no problem acquiring the means not only to expand and outfit his gigantic factory with amazing inventions and living quarters for the Oompa-Loompas, but to keep the whole operation running at full steam.
It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Virtually all of the processes in Mr. Wonka's factory: "If television breaks an image down into little bits and sends them through the air, why not a bar of chocolate?" Then again, Mr. Wonka's nonsense explanations are usually for the benefit of the candidate children, most of whom he doesn't trust at all.
Just Desserts: The Oompa-Loompa song about Augustus claims that this will be his fate once his trip through the pipe is through — specifically, he'll be turned into fudge. Subverted in that he's rescued before that can happen (in most versions, anyway).
"Just Joking" Justification: Mr. Wonka gives this to Mrs. Gloop when she takes offense to his apparently being more concerned with his fudge than her son, and also gives it on behalf of the Oompa-Loompas after their song about Augustus. When Charlie asks Grandpa Joe if they really are joking, he replies that he hopes they are...
Just Think of the Potential: Mike Teavee's reaction to the Television Chocolate setup. If it can send chocolate through the airwaves, why not other items — or even a person? Mr. Wonka hasn't thought of this (he created it as a new way to advertise his products), but when Mike brings it up, he admits that it could teleport a person, which is all the kid needs to hear to try it out on himself...
Veruca Salt is easily the worst of the kids, and while their experiences leave them permanently altered (stretched, blue, thin) hers just leaves her badly frightened and dirty. Considering that her father has his own factory she has a great deal more to bounce back with—it's even implied that the lesson of her story was more about punishing her parents for spoiling her than her awful behavior (as opposed to say, Mike Teevee getting blamed for his TV watching even though his parents could also have stopped him).
In the 2005 film, Violet is actually a little happy about what happened to her. (She's become rather flexible after being juiced, despite being purple.)
Augustus Gloop being slimmed down is arguably a good thing, though the experience would probably be very painful and his resulting body shape is questionable.
Mr. Wonka does suggest that "every basketball team in the country" will be after Mike now, but then, he does have a weird sense of humor.
Also, Mr. Wonka keeps his word and gives them all the lifetime supply of chocolate they were promised, which turns out to be a Consolation Prize (since the true "winner", Charlie, becomes his heir). Of course, he might be the biggest Karma Houdini of all! He subjects all these kids to terrifying and life-altering experiences and it never occurs to anyone to report him to the police — and then there's the oft-questioned by critics Oompa-Loompa slave labor.
Karmic Death: Sort of. While none of the children die, each one (except Charlie) is taken out in a similar manner. The end of the book shows the naughty kids walking out of the factory, albeit considerably changed based on their punishments. Not every adaptation sticks with this, however...
Killer Rabbit: The squirrels in the Nut-Sorting Room. They are adorable... and if you get too close, they'll catch you and throw you down to the incinerator if they judge you to be a bad nut.
Level Ate: The most famous example is the Chocolate Room, in which the entirety of the meadow-esque landscape is actually candy, but Grandpa Joe also relates (in Chapter Three) a story about an Indian prince who commissioned an all-chocolate palace from Mr. Wonka. Mr. Wonka didn't realize until after it was built that the prince intended to live in it, and warned him that wasn't such a good idea, as it was bound to melt sooner or later...
Loads and Loads of Characters: To the point that when the tour starts, there's 15 people in the group (the four naughty kids and their parents, Charlie and Grandpa Joe, and Willy Wonka leading the way). It quickly becomes a Dwindling Party, but still. Most adaptations — including all four that warrant their own pages on this wiki — trim down the cast by limiting the number of adults a Golden Ticket finder can bring with them to one, resulting in four of the naughty kids' parents being either Demoted to Extra or Adapted Out.
Veruca doesn't have a squirrel! "All I've got at home is two dogs and four cats and six bunny rabbits and two parakeets and three canaries and a green parrot and a turtle and a bowl of goldfish and a cage of white mice and a silly old hamster!"
Part of the Oompa-Loompa song about Veruca lists the "rather different set of friends" (translation: pieces of refuse) she'll meet in the rubbish chute in this manner.
Mr. Wonka rattles off one when describing his Supervitamin Candy, which will be used to fatten Mike up after he's been stretched out to his original height, to the Teavees. In brief, it has vitamins A through Z with the exceptions of H and S, plus vitamin Wonka, which makes the user's toes grow out to the same length as their fingers.
Lookalike Lovers: A variation: An inordinate number of men are married to women with the feminine version of their name. Charlie's grandparents are Joe and Josephine and George and Georgina. And in the 1971 movie, Veruca Salt's parents are named Henry and Henrietta.
Look Ma, I Am on TV!: Mike Teavee thinks defying Mr. Wonka's warnings in order to become "the first person to be sent by television" is totally worth it, never mind what it does to him. He's on TV!
Meaningful Name: Lampshaded by Mr. Wonka with Veruca, who was named after a plantar wart. And then there's Veruca's hoity toity mother, Angina.
Beauregarde is French for "good/high regard", fitting for the most prideful of the kids.
Mr. Wonka's corrupt rivals are named Prodnose, Ficklegruber, and Slugworth. Prodnose suggests someone who is nosy (all three were this utilizing spies to steal recipies from the Wonka factory), and the latter two have names that bring disgusting creatures to mind (grubs and slugs).
Million to One Chance: Charlie managing to get his Golden Ticket; his family is so poor that a bar of chocolate is a once-a-year birthday luxury for the boy. Ultimately, he gets four tries at it — the birthday bar, one Grandpa Joe pays for out of what little change he's saved, and two bars he buys after finding some money in the snow. The fourth time is the charm. Interestingly, by that point he isn't even thinking about the contest, as he and the family are more concerned with just making it through the winter after his father loses his job. His finding the ticket — at the last possible moment (the day before the tour is to be held) to boot — is such a good example of this trope that more recent adaptations lampshade/play with it.
The Mole: In the backstory, this was how Mr. Wonka's rivals stole his work. Their hired spies got jobs in the Wonka factory, and managed to steal his recipes for their original employers. Mr. Wonka, when he realized what was going on, decided he had no choice but to sack his entire workforce and close his factory.
In the American stage musical adaptation Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka (2005), the kids in the candy store at the beginning are named James, Matilda, Sophie, Danny, Alfie, and Billy.
Narrative Filigree: The Oompa-Loompa songs are the most obvious examples of this offhand — the things that happen to the naughty kids are Anvilicious enough on their own — but in fact a significant chunk of the book, including whole chapters, are devoted to observing, describing, discussing, or even just listing amazing creations of Mr. Wonka's that have no direct bearing on the plot. They do, however, provide lots of humor and go to show just how vast his factory is and how powerful his imagination is. Adaptations have upgraded some of this filigree to plot-affecting levels — the Fizzy Lifting Drinks and Everlasting Gobstoppers in the 1971 film, for instance.
Never Trust a Hair Tonic: At the moment, Hair Toffee is too good at growing hair. (Also, it apparently is intended to have the same effect on both men and women — even though women don't usually have beards and mustaches!)
New Media Are Evil: The Oompa-Loompa song following on from Mike Teavee's undoing is an anti-television/pro-books screed.
No Antagonist: The four brats are rude and nasty, but they're not actively working against Charlie.
No OSHA Compliance: The factory itself is riddled with unbelievably dangerous areas, from a chocolate river with no safety rail that leads to a grinding machine via pipes, a gaping hole in the middle of the nut-sorting room that leads straight to a furnace, and a glass elevator that smashes through the roof, just to name a few. Part of the problem seems to be that the owner seems to be preoccupied with attractive aesthetics ("I insist upon my rooms being beautiful!") over practical safety issues.
Nothing but Skin and Bones: Played for Drama — Charlie and Grandpa Joe are both this by the time they get to the factory after weeks of subsisting on next-to-no food, and other characters notice and remark upon it. Willy Wonka's Pet the Dog moment is his giving each of them a mugful of freshly-mixed melted chocolate during the Cool Boat ride, out of concern for how starved they look. This trope is dropped in adaptations, probably because it's hard to visualize with live actors (especially kids).
Obsessed with Food: Augustus Gloop's "hobby" is eating. In a sadder example, the Bucket family, never flush to begin with, is forced into this state once Mr. Bucket loses his job — all they can think about is how to not starve, or how to conserve their energy as they do. According to Willy Wonka, the Oompa-Loompas were/are obsessed with cacao beans, which was one reason they were willing to work for him.
Omnibus: The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Mr. Willy Wonka packages this book and its sequel in one volume.
Oral Fixation: Violet, with her love of gum chewing. As well, the Oompa-Loompa song that comes on the heels of her undoing is largely devoted to recounting the sad tale of one Miss Bigelow, who had exactly the same fixation, with dreadful results — see Tongue Trauma below.
Orphaned Series: A third book, Charlie in the White House, didn't get any further than its first chapter.
Out of the Frying Pan: Augustus faces the threat of drowning in the chocolate river (as he can't swim). He is saved from this...when he gets sucked into a pipe, and promptly gets stuck inside it. Then the pressure of the liquid chocolate behind him sends him shooting up and away...to a chocolate-mixing barrel that will soon be tipped into a boiler!
Piggy Bank: As the Golden Ticket hunt kicks into high gear after Augustus finds the first one, it is noted that "Children were taking hammers and smashing their piggy banks and running out to the shops with handfuls of money."
Pinball Protagonist: Charlie. The only thing he actually does that affects the plot is buy the chocolate bar with the Golden Ticket; otherwise he's pretty much just jostled along by the story. Most adaptations, including the two films and the 2013 stage musical, add plot complications/twists to rectify this.
Playing Sick: A deleted subplot involving a sixth naughty child, snotty and school-obsessed Miranda Mary Piker, had her and her headmaster dad attempt to destroy a machine that makes "Spotty Powder", which allows a child to convincingly play sick for a day to stay home from school. The book Spotty Powder and Other Splendiferous Secrets (The Missing Golden Ticket and... in the U.S.) includes a rough draft of the chapter featuring their comeuppance, along with other trivia.
Rapid Hair Growth: Hair Toffee. It makes hair grow on your head a half-hour after you eat it, which is perfect for bald people...but right now it's too powerful.
Reading Is Cool Aesop: The Oompa-Loompa song about Mike Teavee urges parents to get rid of their television set — no matter how much their children might protest — and bring in books as a substitute. Once the kids get bored enough to give the books a try, they'll come to love them far more than they ever did the TV.
Running Gag: Mr. Wonka constantly brushing off the group's questions and interjections about the stranger aspects of his world, often with claims that he doesn't understand what they're saying (because they're mumbling, he's slightly deaf in one ear, etc.).
Satire: Of parents who coddle and indulge their children, and the spoiled brats that said children become, with a contemptuous, Juvenalian approach as the brats meet a variety of blackly comic fates. The Serious Business of the Golden Ticket hunt and its media coverage come in for gentler, Horatian satire, especially in adaptations. The 1971 and 2005 film adaptations dial back the aggressiveness of the satire with regards to the brats. But the 2013 stage musical not only updates two of the brats to satirize vapid modern celebrity (Violet) and parents who try to excuse a child's downright malicious behavior (Mike) but tightens the screws.
Science Cocktail: Several machines in the Inventing Room work this way, with the Everlasting Gobstopper and Great Gum Machines described in full detail.
Screwball Serum: The three-course-meal chewing gum. It works wonderfully until one hits the blueberry pie course...
Secret Test: The Golden Ticket contest and subsequent tour is Mr. Wonka's way of finding a proper heir, specifically a good child who will learn from him and follow in his footsteps rather than change the way things are done (as an adult would).
Seven Deadly Sins: At least four: Augustus is Gluttony, Violet is Pride, Veruca is Greed, and Mike is Sloth, creating some convenient Aesops.
Serious Business: The pursuit of the Golden Tickets. Even though the contest is aimed at children, adults all over the world get in on the act, some even resorting to criminal means.
Shout-Out: In the Oompa-Loompa song about Mike Teavee, the long stretch about the joys of children reading books name-drops/references the work of Beatrix Potter, Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, and The Wind in the Willows.
Shrink Ray: Because images on TV are always smaller than the original objects were, the Television-Chocolate Room's setup applies this to whatever it teleports. To get an ordinary-sized bar of chocolate to show up on the screen, the original chocolate bar has to be huge. When Mike tries the setup on himself, he winds up small enough to fit in the palm of his mother's hand.
Social Services Does Not Exist: After Mr. Bucket loses his job, things get a lot worse for the family, but no one seems to notice the four starving grandparents confined to a single bed or that Charlie is looking a lot thinner and doesn't have the energy to play at recess.
Spoiled Brat: Veruca Salt is the most obvious example, but the other three naughty kids have been spoiled in their own ways, with their parents indulging and even encouraging their respective vices.
Technicolor Science: The Great Gum Machine mixes a cauldron's worth of unidentified but bright and colorful liquids together, then ultimately reduces the resultant mixture to a single gray strip of gum.
Teleporter Accident: Mike's attempt to become the first person transmitted by television works, but also results in him being shrunk to an inch high.
Tongue Trauma: The sad case of Miss Bigelow (see Oral Fixation above): She chewed gum (or anything else at hand) so much that eventually, while asleep, her jaws just kept on moving even with nothing to chew...and ultimately bit her tongue in two, whereupon she lost the ability to speak and subsequently went insane!
Tree Top Town: The Oompa-Loompa village in Loompaland was one of these in order to afford the inhabitants some safety from the many predators roaming the land.
Urban Fantasy: Between the two books, it's clear that there are all sorts of fantastical things and possibilities in its world; most people just aren't aware of them. Mr. Wonka, on the other hand, is aware, and the result is a factory that doubles as The Wonderland.
The Villain Sucks Song: The Oompa-Loompas sing one for each of the kids except Charlie, although they don't really count as villains. Augustus's fits the mold the most: Violet's and Mike's songs are anecdotes about gum-chewing and TV watching. Veruca's is more a disclaimer that her parents should have some of the blame. Augustus Gloop's song, however, is a storm of insults directly aimed at the boy.
They passed a yellow door on which it said: STOREROOM NUMBER 77—ALL THE BEANS, CACAO BEANS, COFFEE BEANS, JELLY BEANS, AND HAS BEANS. "Has beans?" cried Violet Beauregarde. "You're one yourself!" said Mr. Wonka. "There's no time for arguing! Press on, press on!"
Where The Hell Is Springfield?: Thanks in part to the above Cultural Translation issues, it's unclear where Charlie's hometown and Mr. Wonka's factory are supposed to be located in the original novel, though the sequel claims it's somewhere in the U.S. The movie versions are intentionally vague, while the 2013 musical heavily implies that it's in England.
Whip It Good: One of the storerooms along the tunnel the chocolate river flows through is devoted to "Whips — All Shapes And Sizes." When asked about it, Mr. Wonka says that they're for making whipped cream: "Whipped cream isn't whipped cream at all unless it's been whipped with whips." There are several other storerooms in the hallway, each labeled with equally atrocious puns.
White Void Room: The Television-Chocolate Room. Aside from the camera setup at one end and the television monitor setup at the other, it's "completely bare" and white thanks to the walls, floor, and presumably ceiling being painted such, as well as the extremely bright light coming from overhead lamps (so bright that one cannot enter the room without donning special dark glasses).
Worst News Judgment Ever: The Golden Ticket search, Serious Business that it is, warrants huge media coverage worldwide: giant front page headlines in newspapers and crowds of reporters tracking down the winners. (This results in a curious continuity error in the sequel, which claims that the opening of a space hotel was getting similar coverage, because there's no sign of that here.) Both the 1971 film and 2013 stage musical have fun with this trope.
You Monster!: Exact words used by Mrs. Gloop when she sees that Willy Wonka is laughing hysterically after her son is sent off to who-knows-where via the pipes.
You Talk Too Much: The culmination of the Running Gag of Mr. Wonka claiming he can't understand what Mike is saying: "You're a nice boy, but you talk too much."