Study Guide

Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

By Roald Dahl

Mike Teavee

Or should we say, Mike TV? That's mostly all we know about him: he loves television. It's what he talks about from the first second, and he even dresses the part, like a character straight out of an old Western, with toy pistols hanging all over his clothes. The first thing he says is, "'can't you fools see I'm watching television?'" (8.13). Yes, Mike, we certainly can.

Mike seems to be the most curious of all the children, and maybe the feistiest. He tries to challenge Mr. Wonka every time he doesn't believe him about something, and even though Mr. Wonka won't answer him, we're sometimes on Mike Teavee's side, as annoying as he can be. Honestly, we're just as curious about the factory as everyone else. So when Willy Wonka calls chewing gum gross, and Mike Teavee asks him, "If you think gum is so disgusting, […] then why do you make it in your factory?" (22.6), we have to admit: he kind of has a point.

Tiny Mike's Big Moment

It goes without saying that Mike is the star of the two chapters with the word television in the title. We saw that coming, didn't we? When Mike learns that Mr. Wonka can send a real chocolate bar through the television, he's thrilled. No surprise there. But it's a little unnerving when he asks if Mr. Wonka can send people through the television. We have a hunch we might know what he's thinking.

And as it turns out, we do. Mike heads straight for the camera and sends himself through the television. It's his dream come true, except for the fact that he's now just a "little speck of a boy," (27.47), who's "certainly not more than an inch tall." (27.48). But hey, haven't we seen this before? A rude kid ignores the warnings of his parents and Mr. Wonka, and ends up undergoing some terrible disaster. Yep, that definitely sounds familiar.

But Mike's a bit different from the others. In fact, he seems downright happy after being sent through the television. He's not worried at all. When his mother cries, "He won't be able to do anything!" Mike just says, "Oh, yes I will!" […] I'll still be able to watch television!" (27.53-54). Good point, Mike.

Oh, and one more thing: did we mention he loves television?

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