Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl
Analysis: Plot Analysis
Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice.
Charlie and his family all live together in a tiny house. They don't have enough to eat, but they have plenty of love. This is all we really need to know to get an idea of who our protagonist is and what he's all about.
Down and Out
Charlie's dad loses his job and his family finds themselves in a really tough spot. He starts getting thinner and sicker, and all he wants is some chocolate. This isn't just any old conflict – it's a life or death conflict.
Here Comes Trouble
Even when Charlie makes it into the factory, he has to be careful. Each of the other non-Charlie children – Augustus, Violet, Veruca, and Mike – all create their own little complications by doing things like getting turned into a blueberry or getting pushed down a garbage chute by a squirrel. No big deal for Mr. Wonka, but Charlie needs to avoid acting like these troublemakers.
The word "CRASH!" (28.24) is pretty climactic on its own, and it definitely means the climax of this book. This is the moment when the great glass elevator breaks through the roof of the ceiling, something not even Mr. Wonka has done before. Excitement, fright, fun – everything a good climax should be.
He Won! Wait, What Did He Win?
We know that Charlie has won – Mr. Wonka has said so himself. But what on earth has he won? While they're in the glass elevator, watching the world go by, we're excited for something, and so is Charlie, but we don't know what.
Goodbye Naughty Children, Hello Charlie
From the elevator, Charlie, Grandpa Joe, and Mr. Wonka watch the other children go home, some covered in garbage, others turned purple. But more importantly, Willy Wonka tells Charlie that he wants him to take over his factory. This is after the climax, but before the conclusion – it's when everything is explained and the open-ended questions (did Augustus get turned into fudge?) get answered (no).
Home Sweet Home
After a little scare in the Bucket household, Mr. Wonka gets the whole family in the glass elevator and starts the trip back to the factory. If living in a giant dessert factory isn't a happily ever after, we don't know what is.