Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Summary

Roald Dahl


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical 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.

However, the anachronistic impoverishment only serves to underline Charlie’s love for chocolate and the seeming...

(The entire section is 642 words.)


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,...

(The entire section is 110 words.)