Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
This book does not like television, that's for sure. Let's listen to the Oompa-Loompas to get a better hold on why:
IT ROTS THE SENSES IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
Hmm. That's interesting. But wait, there's more.
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK – HE ONLY SEES!
Okay, okay, Oompa-Loompas, we get the idea.
You know what sticks out to us in this particular song? The fact that television makes a child unable to understand a fantasy, or a fairyland. We have a hunch Dahl thinks that's pretty much the worst thing ever. Think about it. He's created a wonderful fantasyland for these children and us readers – the chocolate factory. What if we couldn't understand it? What if our imagination was so dead it wouldn't allow us to?
That would be pretty terrible.
Oh, and another thing: a television is a box, right? Before you say "duh," hear us out. Mike Teavee almost gets trapped inside that box, and that box certainly changes him forever. But in order to appreciate a magical place like the chocolate factory, you've got to be able to think outside the box. You need an imagination, which the very thing the Oompa-Loompas tell us television kills.