Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
As a result of having been adapted to the screen not once but twice, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the best known of Dahl’s works. Although both the cinematic adaptations follow the general story line, each introduces a certain amount of artistic liberty, which has resulted in some confusion as to the actual plot line of the original novel. For instance, in the 1971 adaptation, the squirrels that are the downfall of Veruca Salt are replaced by giant geese that lay golden chocolate eggs and Slugworth is revealed to be an agent of Wonka’s, while in the 2005 adaptation an extensive backstory is created for Wonka. In the first film, the Oompa-Loompas, the midget workers in Wonka’s factory, do not sing the songs from the book, while the second film adapts Dahl’s lyrics.
The story centers around the title character, Charlie Bucket, who lives with his parents and all four grandparents in a tiny house. Although the story is clearly set in the modern world, as television plays an important part in the plot, there is no evidence of modern social welfare services to ameliorate the poverty of the Bucket family’s life, which seems more reminiscent of the Victorian era and Gilded Age. None of Charlie’s grandparents seems to be receiving government assistance, and when Charlie’s father is laid off from his low-paying job as a result of automation, there is no unemployment check to fend off impending starvation.
(The entire section is 642 words.)
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Dahl has said that his only purpose in writing books for children is to entertain and foster a love of reading. The book's slap-stick humor, fantastic setting, and exaggerated characters appeal to the tastes of young readers. It has an original and fast-paced plot about a poor boy who, along with four other children, wins an opportunity to tour a wondrous and mysterious chocolate factory that has been sealed off from the public for ten years.
The book is especially effective when read aloud and is frequently used by teachers who read to their classes. This is partially due to Dahl's playful use of language, featuring rhymes, puns, and hyperbole.
(The entire section is 110 words.)
Roald Dahl is one of the best-loved authors of children’s books in the world. He was born in Wales but spent most of his life in England. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published in 1964. Dahl died in 1990, but his books are still read and enjoyed by children everywhere.
In a little wooden house located on the edge of town live Mr. Bucket and his parents, Mrs. Bucket and her parents, and Charlie Bucket. The town is great but the house is far too small for all seven of them. There are only two rooms and one bed. The grandparents get the bed because they are worn out, but they are so worn out they never leave their bed. Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine live at one end of the bed; Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina live at the other end. Charlie and his parents sleep on mattresses on the floor in the other room. In the winter, they all get very cold.
Mr. Bucket has a job; he screws toothpaste lids onto toothpaste tubes in a local toothpaste factory. No matter how fast he works, though, he is never able to earn enough money for his family. Their main food is cabbage, and there is never enough to make them all feel full. They are always hungry. Charlie feels the hunger the worst, and he longs for something other than cabbage or cabbage soup. He longs for chocolate. As he passes a candy shop on his way to school, Charlie presses his nose against the window and dreams of eating the delicious treat. When his classmates are enjoying their chocolate, Charlie is envious. Charlie’s entire family saves money all year so they can buy Charlie one chocolate bar for his birthday—a candy bar he can eat all by himself. He treats it as if it were gold and makes the ten-cent chocolate bar last for an entire month.
The worst thing is that Charlie lives in the shadow of a gigantic chocolate factory. This is not just any old chocolate factory. This is the largest chocolate factory in the world, and it is owned by Mr. Willy Wonka, the greatest inventor and chocolate-maker who ever lived. The sights and smells of this factory are unbearably tantalizing. Walking to and from school, Charlie has to smell the delicious aroma of melted chocolate and then go home...
(The entire section is 5520 words.)