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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has two main settings. The beginning of the story takes place mostly in Charlie's home. He shares a tiny, one-bedroom house with his two sets of grandparents. Charlie's home is marked by poverty and lack. There's no heater in the home, and rarely any food to eat. Charlie's grandparents are frail from lack of nutrition, his grandmother lacking the strength even to rise from bed and walk. A feeling of sadness broods over the home. But Charlie's kind and sensitive spirit also pervades the house, uplifting its residents and protecting them from total despair. So, when Charlie comes home from school every day, his grandparents perk up. They ask him about his day. They move around a little, and become interested in living. The house seems just a bit brighter. Charlie's presence brings vitality into the home; it becomes a setting of hope and possibility.
As the story progresses, the setting changes from Charlie's house to Willie Wonka's chocolate factory. Wonka's factory is almost the exact opposite of Charlies's house. Whereas Charlie's house is drab and suffocating, Wonka's factory shimmers brightly and defies normal hugeness. The factory is a place of excess, with chocolate rivers flowing about and sugary treats at every turn. It causes sensory overload. Appetites can never be sated because there's too much available. In Willie Wonka's chocolate factory, Charlie is able to unburden himself of the obligations of taking care of others. He can experience his surroundings carefree. Yet even though the chocolate factory is a setting full of temptations, Charlie's basic goodness shines through.
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