17 January 1964 (US version)23 November 1964 (UK version)
Fiction, Fantasy, Children's literature, Speculative fiction
Quentin Blake, Michael Foreman
Works by Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake books, Children's literature
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 children's book by British author Roald Dahl. The story features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka.
- Charlie and the chocolate factory ch 01
- 1971 film
- 2005 film
- Missing chapters
- Spotty Powder
- The Vanilla Fudge Room
- The Warming Candy Room
- The Childrens Delight Room
- Favourable views
- Unfavourable views and revisions
- 50th anniversary cover controversy
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was first published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in 1964 and in the United Kingdom by George Allen & Unwin, 3 years later. The book has been adapted into two major motion pictures: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in 1971, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005. The book's sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, was written by Roald Dahl in 1971 and published in 1972. Dahl had also planned to write a third book in the series but never finished it.
The story was originally inspired by Roald Dahl's experience of chocolate companies during his schooldays. Cadbury would often send test packages to the schoolchildren in exchange for their opinions on the new products. At that time (around the 1920s), Cadbury and Rowntree's were England's two largest chocolate makers and they each often tried to steal trade secrets by sending spies, posing as employees, into the other's factory. Because of this, both companies became highly protective of their chocolate-making processes. It was a combination of this secrecy and the elaborate, often gigantic, machines in the factory that inspired Dahl to write the story.
Charlie and the chocolate factory ch 01
An 11-year-old boy named Charlie Bucket lives in poverty in a tiny house with his parents and four grandparents. His grandparents share the only bed in the house, located in the only bedroom. Charlie and his parents sleep on a mattress on the floor. Once a year, on his birthday, Charlie gets one Wonka Bar, which he keeps for many months.
Willy Wonka, the owner of the Wonka chocolate factory, has suddenly decided to open the doors of his factory to five children and their parents after 10 years of keeping it sealed because his rivals were stealing his recipes. In order to choose who will enter the factory and also receive a lifetime supply of chocolate, Mr. Wonka hides five golden tickets in the wrappers of his Wonka chocolate bars. The search for the five golden tickets is fast and furious. Each ticket find is a media sensation and each finder becomes a celebrity. The first four golden tickets are found by the gluttonous Augustus Gloop, the spoiled and petulant Veruca Salt, the gum-addicted Violet Beauregarde, and the TV-obsessed Mike Teavee.
One day, Charlie sees a fifty-pence coin (dollar bill in the US version) buried in the snow. He decides to use a little of the money to buy himself some chocolate before turning the rest over to his mother. He buys two bars, and after unwrapping the second chocolate bar, Charlie finds the fifth golden ticket. The next day is the date that Mr. Wonka has set for his guests to enter the factory.
In the factory, Charlie and Grandpa Joe enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the factory, and encounter the Oompa-Loompas, a race of small people who have been helping Wonka operate the factory since he rescued them from poverty and fear in their home country of Loompaland. The other kids are ejected from the factory in comical, mysterious and painful fashions. Augustus Gloop falls into the Chocolate River when he wants to drink it, and he is sucked up by one of the pipes. Violet Beauregarde impetuously grabs an experimental piece of gum and turns into a giant blueberry. Veruca Salt is determined to be a "bad nut" by nut-judging squirrels who throw her out with the trash. The television lover, Mike Teavee, is shrunk to a tiny size and gets stuck inside a TV set. At the end, the children are seen going home as follows: Augustus squeezed thin by the pipe; Violet purple all over; Veruca covered in trash; and Mike 10 feet tall and thin as a wire after efforts to restore his proper size went wrong.
With only Charlie remaining, Willy Wonka congratulates him for "winning" the factory and, after explaining his true age and the reason behind his golden tickets, names Charlie his successor. They ride the great glass elevator to Charlie's house and bring the rest of Charlie's family to the factory.
The story continues in the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.
As "lost chapters" found reveal, in the initial, unpublished drafts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory nine golden tickets were distributed to tour Willy Wonka's secret chocolate factory and the children faced more rooms and more temptations to test their self-control. Some of the names of the children cut from the final work include:
"Spotty Powder" was first published as a short story in 1973. In 2005, The Times reprinted "Spotty Powder" as a "lost" chapter, saying it had been found in Dahl's desk, written backwards in mirror writing (the way Leonardo da Vinci wrote his journal). This chapter describes Spotty Powder, which looks and tastes like sugar, but causes bright red pox-like spots to appear on faces and necks five seconds after ingestion, so children who eat Spotty Powder do not have to go to school. The spots fade on their own a few hours later. After learning the purpose of Spotty Powder, the humorless, smug Miranda Piker and her equally humorless father (a schoolmaster) are enraged and disappear into the Spotty Powder room to sabotage the machine. Soon after entering, they are heard making what Mrs Piker interpreted as screams. Mr Wonka assures her (after making a brief joke where he claims that headmasters are one of the occasional ingredients) it was only laughter. Exactly what happened to them is not revealed in the extract.
In an early draft, sometime after being renamed from Miranda Grope to Miranda Piker but before "Spotty Powder" was written, she falls down the chocolate waterfall and ends up in the Peanut-Brittle Mixer. This results in the "rude and disobedient little kid" becoming "quite delicious." This early draft poem was slightly rewritten as an Oompa-Loompa song in the lost chapter, which now puts her in the "Spotty-Powder mixer" and instead of being "crunchy and ... good [peanut brittle]" she is now "useful [for truancy] and ... good."
"The Vanilla Fudge Room"
In 2014, The Guardian revealed that Dahl had cut another chapter ("The Vanilla Fudge Room") from an early draft of the book. The Guardian reported the now-eliminated passage was "deemed too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral for the tender minds of British children almost 50 years ago." In what was originally chapter five in that version of the book, Charlie goes to the factory with his mother (instead of his grandfather, as originally published). At this point, the chocolate factory tour is down to eight kids, including Tommy Troutbeck and Wilbur Rice. After the entire group climbs to the top of the titular fudge mountain, eating vanilla fudge along the way, Troutbeck and Rice decide to take a ride on the wagons carrying away chunks of fudge. The wagons take them directly to The Pounding And Cutting Room, where the fudge is reformed and sliced into small squares for retail sale. Wonka states the machine is equipped with "a large wire strainer ... which is used specially for catching children before they fall into the machine" adding that "It always catches them. At least it always has up to now."
The chapter dates back to an early draft with ten golden tickets, including two for Miranda Grope and Augustus Pottle, who fell into the chocolate river prior to the events of "Fudge Mountain". Augustus Pottle was routed to the Chocolate Fudge Room, not the Vanilla Fudge Room explored in this chapter, and Miranda Grope ended up in the Peanut Brittle Room.
"The Warming Candy Room"
Also in 2014, Vanity Fair published a plot summary of "The Warming Candy Room", wherein three boys eat too many "warming candies" and end up "bursting with heat."
The Warming Candy Room is dominated by a boiler, which heats a scarlet liquid. The liquid is dispensed one drop at a time, where it cools and forms a hard shell, storing the heat and "by a magic process ... the hot heat changes into an amazing thing called 'cold heat.'" After eating a single warming candy, one could stand naked in the snow comfortably. This is met with predictable disbelief from Clarence Crump, Bertie Upside, and Terence Roper, who proceed to eat at least one hundred warming candies each, resulting in profuse perspiration. The three boys and their families discontinue the tour after they are taken to cool off "in the large refrigerator for a few hours."
"The Children's-Delight Room"
Roald Dahl originally planned for a child called Marvin Prune to be included in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl submitted the excised chapter regarding Marvin Prune to The Horn Book Review in the early 1970s. Rather than publish the chapter, Horn Book responded with a critical essay by novelist Eleanor Cameron, who criticised Dahl's worth as a human being.
Although it was believed that Horn Book never returned the chapter, Marvin Prune's chapter is actually available, but it has not yet been published. "The Children's-Delight Room" was reworked into "Spotty Powder". It is present in two versions. One features the workers from "The Vanilla Fudge Room" but also include "tiny whispery voices" who sing the songs after each child's exit, and Charlie with his mother and father. The second version features Grandpa Joe, Charlie's grandfather, who is present in the final book, and the Oompa-Loompas. In the version with the voices, the voices actually sing two songs, a two verse type one found in "The Vanilla Fudge Room", plus a longer one like the type that is found in the final book. Like Miranda, Marvin loves school and suffers the same fate as her—supposedly getting ground into powder.
A fan of the book since childhood, film director Tim Burton states, "I responded to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it respected the fact that children can be adults." In a 2006 list for the Royal Society of Literature, author J. K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter books) named Charlie and the Chocolate Factory among her top ten books every child should read.
A 2004 study found that it was a common read-aloud book for fourth-graders in schools in San Diego County, California. A 2012 survey by the University of Worcester determined that it was one of the most common books that UK adults had read as children, after Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Wind in The Willows.
Accolades for the book include
In the 2012 survey published by SLJ, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience, Charlie was the second of four books by Dahl among the so-called Top 100 Chapter Books, one more than any other writer.
Unfavourable views and revisions
Although the book has always been popular and considered a children's classic by many literary critics, a number of prominent individuals have spoken critically of the novel over the years. Dominic Cheetham observes that numerous publishers turned down Dahl's book and even Knopf — the original, American publisher — agreed both that the book was in bad taste and books should not be aimed at both children and adults, as was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Children's novelist and literary historian John Rowe Townsend has described the book as "fantasy of an almost literally nauseating kind" and accused it of "astonishing insensitivity" regarding the original portrayal of the Oompa-Loompas as black pygmies, although Dahl did revise this later. Cheetham notes that no outcry was raised about the anti-Indian sentiment shown in the "humorous, but belittling" naming of the Indian Prince Pondicherry and the portrayal of the "incredible stupidity in a stereotyped racial icon."
Another novelist, Eleanor Cameron, compared the book to the sweets that form its subject matter, commenting that it is "delectable and soothing while we are undergoing the brief sensory pleasure it affords but leaves us poorly nourished with our taste dulled for better fare." Ursula K. Le Guin voiced her support for this assessment in a letter to The Horn Book Review, noting that her own daughter would turn "quite nasty" upon finishing the book. Roald Dahl responded to Cameron's criticisms by noting the classics she had cited would not be well received by contemporary children.
Cheetham has catalogued additional criticisms about the book, including: "General Attitudes to Foreigners," citing the treatment of characters who may be perceived as American, in addition to the African and Indian characters noted above; "Employer-Employee Relations"; "Human Guinea Pigs"; "General Attitudes Towards Class"; "The Myth of Noble Poverty"; "Attitudes to Children"; "Attitudes to Parenthood"; and "Alcohol Abuse"
The cover art for Penguin UK's Modern Classics 50th Anniversary Edition of the book (publication date September 2014) has also received substantial criticism for his taste level and age-appropriateness. (See Editions.)
In addition to spawning several sequels, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has frequently been adapted for other media, including games, radio, the screen, and stage, most often as plays or musicals for children — often titled Willy Wonka or Willy Wonka, Jr. and almost always featuring musical numbers by all the main characters (Wonka, Charlie, Grandpa Joe, Violet, Veruca, etc.); many of the songs are revised versions from the 1971 film.
The novel has often been subject to many parodies, often specifically to the 1971 film.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has undergone numerous editions and been illustrated by numerous artists.
50th anniversary cover controversy
The cover photo of the 50th anniversary edition, published by Penguin Modern Classics for sale in the UK, and aimed at the adult market, has received widespread commentary. Some "absolutely love" the "beautiful" photo of a heavily-made up young girl seated on her mother's knee and wearing a doll-like expression, taken by the photographers Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello as part of a photo shoot for a 2008 fashion article in a French magazine, for a fashion article titled "Mommie Dearest." But many are critical, even "outraged." In addition to noting that "the image seemingly has little to do with the beloved children’s classic", reviewers and commenters in social media (such as posters on the publisher's Facebook page) have said the art evokes Lolita, Valley of the Dolls, and JonBenet Ramsey; looks like a scene from Toddlers & Tiaras; and is "misleading," "creepy," "sexualized," "grotesque," "misjudged on every level," "distasteful and disrespectful to a gifted author and his work," "pretentious," "trashy", "outright inappropriate," "terrifying," "really obnoxious," and "weird & kind of paedophilic."
The publisher explained its objective in a blog post accompanying the announcement about the jacket art: "This new image . . . looks at the children at the center of the story, and highlights the way Roald Dahl’s writing manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life." Additionally, Penguin Press's Helen Conford told the Bookseller: "We wanted something that spoke about the other qualities in the book," Penguin Press's Helen Conford told the Bookseller. "It's a children's story that also steps outside children's and people aren't used to seeing Dahl in that way." She continued: "[There is] a lot of ill feeling about it, I think because it's such a treasured book and a book which isn't really a 'crossover book'" As she acknowledged: "People want it to remain as a children's book."
The New Yorker describes what it calls this "strangely but tellingly misbegotten" cover design thusly: "The image is a photograph, taken from a French fashion shoot, of a glassy-eyed, heavily made-up little girl. Behind her sits, a mother figure, stiff and coiffed, casting an ominous shadow. The girl, with her long, perfectly waved platinum-blond hair and her pink feather boa, looks like a pretty and inert doll—" The article continues: "And if the Stepford daughter on the cover is meant to remind us of Veruca Salt or Violet Beauregarde, she doesn’t: those badly behaved squirts are bubbling over with rude life." Moreover, writes Talbot, "The Modern Classics cover has not a whiff of this validation of childish imagination; instead, it seems to imply a deviant adult audience."