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Our narrator jumps right into things, introducing us to the main characters. He even has pictures to help us out.
First, there are four old – ahem, elderly – people: Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine (the parents of Mr. Bucket) and Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina (the parents of Mrs. Bucket).
Moving down the family tree, we've got Mr. and Mrs. Bucket and their son, Charlie.
Charlie introduces himself to us readers. Really – go check it out, Roald Dahl really makes us feel like we're there right from the beginning.
The family lives together in a small house: the four grandparents sleep in one bed together (sleep and live, we should say: they never get out of bed). The other three sleep on mattresses on the floor.
Clearly, this family is poor; Mr. Bucket has a job in a factory, screwing the caps onto toothpaste tubes, but he doesn't make enough to buy everything they need.
They eat the same meals every day, but on Sunday, they can have seconds.
Even though his parents give him some extra food sometimes, Charlie is always hungry. And, being a young boy (and a human being, for that matter) all he can think about is chocolate.
He sees chocolate every day, but only gets to eat it once a year: on his birthday. It's so precious, that he'll eat it tiny piece by tiny piece, to make it last a month. Now that is some will power.
To make things worse, in Charlie's town there is an "ENORMOUS CHOCOLATE FACTORY!" (1.18) (That's actually how it's written – we'd probably write it that way anyway since it's the best thing ever, but it turns out we're just quoting the book.)
The factory belongs to Willy Wonka, famed chocolate-maker, and it lets off a smell of chocolate so wonderful that when Charlie passes it every day on his way to school, he wants nothing more than to go inside the factory.