In the book, Charlie 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 Wonka's Oompa-Loompas. When only Charlie
is left, Wonka reveals he was actually looking for an heir.
Perhaps Roald Dahl
's best known work, this book has twice been filmed
, in 1971 as Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory
and in 2005 as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
There is a sequel, Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator
, in which the elevator shoots into space, Wonka stops an invasion by shapeshifting aliens, and the grandparents get into trouble with a de-aging potion
. Unfortunately, Dahl was so disgusted at how the film of the first book turned out that he forbade any adaptations of the sequel.
This story, particularly the 1971 movie version, has become a stock parody
; see Charlie and the Chocolate Parody
This story provides examples of:
- Adaptation Overdosed: In addition to the two films, there's a stage play that's extremely faithful to the book, and a stage musical that uses the 1971 film's songs but is a closer match to the book plotwise (creating another, sort of hybrid, continuity).
- Cloud Cuckoo Land: The titular factory.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Many would find the bit about Wonka closing down due to industrial espionage to be over the top. Many would also be surprised to learn what a cutthroat industry candymaking really is.
- Author Filibuster: The Oompa Loompa songs, especially the one concerning TV. Doubles as Anvilicious.
- Author Tract: The ironic fates of nearly all the kids, and in particular the Mike Teevee speech.
- Bowdlerise: The description of the Oompa-Loompas was altered to make the general concept less overtly racist.
- Competition Coupon Madness: The Golden tickets.
- Cool Old Guy: Grandpa Joe.
- Daddy's Girl: Veruca Salt whose doting father has made her into a little monster.
- Elaborate Underground Base: The factory.
- Everything's Better with Chocolate: Pretty self-explanatory.
- Fat Bastard: Augustus Gloop.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The snozzberry. In My Uncle Ozwald, by the same author... well, let us just say that snozzberry does not refer to a fruit.
- Gone Horribly Right: Hair Toffee. It does grow hair - but way too much.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: the "three course dinner" gum is either this or the former, depending on how much one trusts Willy Wonka.
- Happily Ever After
- Hollywood Atlas
- Infinite Supplies
- It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Virtually all of the processes in Wonka's factory: "If television breaks an image down into little bits and sends them through the air, why not a bar of chocolate?"
- Debatable, given that Wonka's nonsense explanations are usually for the benefit of the candidate children, most of whom he doesn't trust at all.
- Karma Houdini: What exactly did Veruca Salt get compared to the other kids? The scare of her life, and very dirty, but compared to the fate of the others (Slimmed down, stretched out, turned purple) she really didn't get what she deserved to be easily the worst of the kids, just something a bath would fix.
- A bath and an extensive therapy course. Consider the scene: she is forcibly held down (by squirrels, whom she before found "adorable") for quite some time, touched on shoulder and face while helpless, has her head patted to determine whether she is "good nut" (possibly with the thought that if yes, the squirels will attempt to crack her head), and then thrown down the chute. Does This Remind You of Anything? Such an experience can scar someone permanently. Especially someone who never before ran into any bad situations.
- Also consider that she fell into the oven, and must have thought "Oh Crap, I will be burned now!". Psychic trauma is all but guaranteed after such experience.
- Also note that when the news of Charlie's getting the factory gets out, the other parents will be devastated by their children losing out, and the kids will have to live with that for the rest of their lives. Veruca's father has his own factory.
- In her case, it was really more her parents that needed to learn a lesson about spoiling her so much. The 2005 film particularly makes it clear that she's not going to get her way so easily anymore.
Veruca: (sees Willy Wonka, Grandpa Joe, and Charlie riding in the glass elevator above them as she and her father walk out of the factory covered in garbage) Daddy, I want a glass elevator.
Mr. Salt: The only thing you're getting today is a bath. And that's final.
Veruca: (angrily) But I want it!
- Also, 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.
- Of course, you could call Willy Wonka the biggest Karma Houdini.
- Karmic Death: Sort of. While Wonka claims none of the children die, each one (except Charlie) is taken out in this manner.
- The end of the book shows the naughty kids walking out of the factory, albeit considerably changed based on their punishments.
- Killer Rabbit: the squirrels. They are adorable... and if you get too close, they'll catch you and throw you down to the incinerator.
- Level Ate: The room with the chocolate waterfall.
- Meaningful Name: Lampshaded by Wonka with Veruca, who was named after a plantar wart.
- And then there's Veruca's hoity toity mother, Angina.
- Million to One Chance
- Mythology Gag:
- Several Wonka products appear in other Roald Dahl books, notably The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, which repeats several descriptions word for word from this one.
- That well-known fruit, the snozzberry, is also mentioned in an earlier Dahl book, Sometimes Never A Fable For Supermen. (We pass lightly over My Uncle Oswald, in which "snozzberry" ...doesn't refer to a fruit.)
- In the musical, the kids in the candy store at the beginning are named James, Matilda, Sophie, Danny, Alfie, and Billy
- 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 (to name a few).
- Not Drawn To Scale: Admittedly, it could also be Bizarrchitecture.
- 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.
- Pretty in Mink: Veruca Salt
- Pun: The Square Candies That Look Round; they're square, but if you enter their room they'll look 'round to see who's there. The buildup to this joke takes up several pages.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The Oompa-Loompas shout during their song for Mike: "THEY... USED... TO... READ!!!!!!!"
- 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.
- Spoiled Brat: Veruca Salt
- Transformation Ray: The TV ray that zaps Mike.
- 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 at the boy.