Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a book for children by Roald Dahl. The book is noted for its casual, easy language, its detailed descriptions, and what can only be described as science fiction for kids. The same sort of style is maintained for most of his other children's books.
Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.
It concerns a boy, Charlie Bucket, whose background is based on one of poverty, living in a small, single-roomed house, which is also shared with his four grandparents. Charlie is the kind, sweet, caring boy most children's book heroes are. However, Charlie's greatest love in life is chocolate. He receives a bar twice a year, once at Christmas and once on his birthday.
Nearby Charlie's house sits the largest chocolate factory in the world, owned by a Mr. Willy Wonka. Wonka is the largest and most inventive and innovative producer of chocolate, producing all kinds of wonderful and delicious candy. Due to the nature of secrecy around the chocolate, the factory is never opened to the public, and houses mysterious workers within.
Wonka, in a surprise move, decides to open his factory to the public, by initiating a lottery. Inside five Wonka Bar wrappers, lies concealed a Golden Ticket which will admit the finder and one or two members of his family into the factory.
Charlie manages to find a Golden Ticket and he and his Grandpa Joe enter Willy Wonka's factory, where they encounter Wonka's many wondrous confectionery creations - including some prototypes which cause rather hair-raising side effects. The other Golden Ticket winners misbehave one by one and end up in bizarre, near-fatal predicaments which require removing them from the premises.
Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat glutton, was drinking from a lake of chocolate when he was sucked up one of the pipes leading to the Fudge Room. Violet Beauregarde, who has chewed the same piece of gum for months, tried an experimental piece of three-course-dinner gum and turned into a giant blueberry. Veruca Salt, a spoiled brat whose rich father gives her anything she wants, was thrown down a garbage chute by squirrels trained to find and dispose of the "bad nuts". Mike Teevee, who spends all day watching Westerns on television, was miniaturized by a television camera designed to deliver candy bars by television.
It turns out that the factory workers are the "Oompa Loompas" - a group of people from Loompaland who agree to shift and become Wonka's workforce because of his ability to supply unlimited quantities of their greatest delicacy, the cocoa bean, the raw ingredient in chocolate. Through the book, they occasionally break into verse en masse to comment on the misbehaviour of the other children and its deleterious effects.
At the end of the story, it is revealed that the lottery was a ploy for Willy Wonka to choose his successor. As the last Golden Ticket winner left standing, Charlie inherits the factory and goes on a trip in a glass elevator with Willy Wonka, the story continuing in the sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.
The book was filmed as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but Dahl never enjoyed the experience of creating the film and vowed not to allow further film versions of his work. Despite this, other Dahl works have been turned into films after his death and another film version of this book is planned for 2005.
There is also a line of candies that use the book's characters and imagery for its marketing.
- ISBN 0871292203 (paperback, 1976)
- ISBN 1850899029 (hardcover, 1987)
- ISBN 0606040323 (prebound, 1988)
- ISBN 0899669042 (library binding, 1992, reprint)
- ISBN 0141301155 (paperback, 1998)
- ISBN 0375815260 (hardcover, 2001)
- ISBN 0375915265 (library binding, 2001)
- ISBN 0142401080 (paperback, 2004)
- ISBN 0848822412 (hardcover)