Study Guide

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Quotes

  • Old Age

    Chapter 1

    The bed was given to the four old grandparents because they were so old and tired. They were so tired, they never got out of it. (1.8)

    It makes sense that grandparents would be old, but why exactly are these ones so tired? Does being old always mean being tired?

    Chapter 2

    Every one of these old people was over ninety. They were as shriveled as prunes, and as bony as skeletons, and throughout the day, until Charlie made his appearance, they lay huddled in their one bed, two at either end, with nightcaps on to keep their heads warm, dozing the time away with nothing to do. (2.2)

    Dahl certainly doesn't make growing old sound like any fun at all.

    Like all extremely old people, he was delicate and weak, and throughout the day he spoke very little. But in the evenings, when Charlie, his beloved grandson, was in the room, he seemed in some marvelous way to grow quite young again. All his tiredness fell away from him and he became as eager and excited as a young boy. (2.15)

    Maybe the grandparents act so old and tired because they spend all day around other old and tired people. If Charlie were around more, they might all start acting as young as Grandpa Joe does, when Charlie wins the Golden Ticket.

    Chapter 8
    Grandma Josephine, Grandpa George, Grandma Georgina

    "Do <em>all </em>children behave like this nowadays – like these brats we've been hearing about?"
    "Of course not," said Mr. Bucket, smiling at the old lady in the bed. "Some do, of course. In fact, quite a lot of them do. But not <em>all</em>." (8.18)

    We've noticed – and maybe you have, too – that when it comes to children, most of the older people in this book are not fans. Except for Charlie, whom all the adults seem to love dearly.

    Chapter 10
    Grandpa Joe

    "That child," said Grandpa Joe, poking his head up from under the blanket one icy morning, "that child has <em>got</em> to have more food. It doesn't matter about us. We're too old to bother with. But a <em>growing boy</em>! He can't go on like this!" (10.10)

    Grandpa Joe seems to think that taking care of the young is more important than taking care of the old. What do you think: is it too late for them?

    Charlie Bucket

    And now, very calmly, with that curious wisdom that seems to come so often to small children in time of hardship, he began to make little changes here and there in some of the things he did, so as to save his strength. (10.15)

    Curious indeed. Here, Charlie behaves more like an adult: he's calm, cool, and collected while facing some tough times. But Dahl is quick to point out that he's a small child; and that fact is actually what helps him survive.

    Chapter 12
    Grandpa Joe

    "I certainly can't go myself and leave the other three old people all alone in bed for a whole day." (12.31)

    These grandparents sure do seem pretty helpless. After all, they can't go a day without being taken care of by Mrs. Bucket. How come the other three grandparents can't be as peppy as Grandpa Joe?

    Chapter 30
    Willy Wonka

    "Mind you, there are thousands of clever men who would give anything for the chance to come in and take over from me, but I don't want that sort of person. I don't want a grown-up person at all. A grown-up won't listen to me; he won't learn. He will try to do things his own way and not mine. So I have to have a child. I want a good sensible loving child, one to whom I can tell all my most precious sweet-making secrets – while I am still alive." (30.10)

    Willy Wonka gets it: kids are awesome. Adults are stubborn and set in their ways, but kids are curious, fun, and smart. Or at least most of them are.

    "Listen," Mr. Wonka said, "I'm an old man. I'm much older than you think. I can't go on forever. I've got no children of my own, no family at all. So who is going to run the factory when I get too old to do it myself?" (30.10)

    As we've been reading, Mr. Wonka's age has hardly crossed our minds at all. He's so full of energy and fun that we don't stop to think – this man is an adult. This quote's a harsh dose of reality after a fantastical romp through his factory.

    Grandpa Joe

    "And I want lots of Oompa-Loompas to row me about, and I want a chocolate river and I want… I want..."
    "She wants a good kick in the pants," whispered Grandpa Joe to Charlie.

    One of our favorite parts of the book is the close friendship between Grandpa Joe, who's ninety-six, and Charlie, who's quite young. They're not your typical duo.

  • Family

    Chapter 1

    These two very old people are the father and mother of Mr. Bucket (1.1).

    It's the first line of the book, and already we know that we're dealing with a family. And a quirky one at that, with a last name like Bucket.

    Charlie Bucket

    Charlie felt it worst of all. And although his father and mother often went without their own share of lunch or supper so that they could give it to him, it still wasn't nearly enough for a growing boy. (1.14)

    Wow. Check out how much Mr. and Mrs. Bucket love their son. They're willing to go without their own meals in order to feed their growing boy. They seem like pretty great parents.

    Chapter 2
    Grandma Josephine, Grandpa George, Grandma Georgina

    "Perfectly true!" cried Grandma Josephine. "And he sends them to <em>all </em>the four corners of the earth. Isn't that so, Grandpa Joe?" (2.18)

    Here we see the grandparents teaming up to tell Charlie about the chocolate factory. They're clearly thrilled that they're getting a chance to share a nice moment with their grandson.

    Charlie Bucket

    But as soon as they heard the door opening, and heard Charlie's voice saying, "Good evening, Grandpa Joe and Grandpa Josephine, and Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina," then all four of them would suddenly sit up, and their old wrinkled faces would light up with smiles of pleasure. (2.2)

    All the grandparents, too, really love Charlie. He must be an awesome kid to have around. He brings life into his rather sad house – even his old, ill grandparents light up when they see him.

    Chapter 7
    Charlie Bucket

    "We'll share it. I want everybody to taste it." (7.26)

    No wonder his parents and grandparents love him so much. Charlie, like them, wants the best for everyone. He's even willing to share his only birthday present with all of them. Shmoop can't guarantee that if we were in the same place, we wouldn't gobble that chocolate bar right up.

    Chapter 13

    All the children, except Charlie, had both their mothers and fathers with them. (13.5)

    Charlie's family is not your typical family. After all, both sets of his grandparents live in the house with him and his parents. So it makes sense that when he gets to the factory, he'll stand out because he's the only kid with just a grandparent by his side. And while we're on that subject, why do you think he takes Grandpa Joe, and not Mr. and Mrs. Bucket?

    Chapter 24
    Willy Wonka

    <em>"For though she's spoiled, and dreadfully so,
    A girl can't spoil herself, you know.
    </em>Who<em> spoiled her, then? Ah, who indeed?
    </em>Who<em> pandered to her every need? […]
    They are (and this is very sad)
    Her loving parents, MUM AND DAD." </em>(24.67)

    Think about Veruca Salt's parents. And now think about Charlie's. Could they be any more different? Veruca's "loving" parents spoil her rotten, while Charlie's parents struggle to even feed their family. That hardly seems fair. But then, like Mr. Wonka says, it all comes out in the wash.

    Chapter 25

    Old Grandpa Joe staggered to his feet and caught hold of a strap. Little Charlie, who couldn't possibly reach as high as that, put his arms around Grandpa Joe's legs and hung on tight. (25.37)

    How sweet – Grandpa Joe's got Charlie covered. And Charlie can count on Grandpa Joe to be there for him, even when he can't quite reach the handholds in the elevator.

    Chapter 30
    Grandpa Joe

    "Calm yourself, my darling wife," said Grandpa Joe, stepping out of the elevator. "It's only us." (30.34)

    It's nice to see that, even at ninety-six, Grandpa Joe is affectionate with his wife. Maybe that's why this is such a loving family – because the grandparents set a loving example.

    Willy Wonka

    "We must go at once and fetch the rest of the family – Charlie father and his mother and anyone else that's around! They can all live in the factory from now on! They can all help to run it until Charlie is old enough to do it by himself!" (30.14)

    Mr. Wonka's quite the family man, too. He could just give the factory to Charlie and tell him he can have it when he turns eighteen. But instead, he wants to bring the whole family in on the deal. And we can't help but be excited for them. Who could possibly deserve a break more than the Buckets?

  • Poverty

    Chapter 1

    There wasn't any question of them being able to buy a better house – or even one more bed to sleep in. They were far too poor for that (1.11)

    Our narrator is sure to tell it like it is. From the get-go, it's clear that the Buckets are broke, which makes the ending of the story, when we finally get to it, all the more wonderful.

    The house wasn't nearly large enough for so many people, and life was extremely uncomfortable for them all (1.8)

    Uncomfortable ain't the word for it. Four grandparents in one bed! And only two rooms for six people. Sounds just plain unbearable.

    They all looked forward to Sundays because then, although they had exactly the same, everyone was allowed a second helping" (1.12)

    A second helping of boiled cabbage doesn't sound like much of a treat. So it's pretty amazing that the family members all look forward to it on Sundays. But that's just it. Despite their unfortunate situation, this family manages to make the best of it. We wish we could say the same for the other families we meet later.

    Chapter 5
    Grandma Josephine, Grandpa George, Grandma Georgina

    "The kids who are going to find the Golden Tickets are the ones who can afford to buy bars of chocolate every day. Our Charlie gets only one a year. There isn't a hope." (5.13)

    Well gee, Grandpa George, that's a pretty sad outlook. Of course we find out later, this turns out to be mostly true – as long as you don't count Charlie's good luck in Chapter 11. But before that stroke of luck, life seems pretty unfair for our Charlie.

    Chapter 10

    Everything he did now, he did slowly and carefully, to prevent exhaustion. (10.15)

    Charlie isn't just hungry anymore. He's <em>starving</em>. Things are getting <em>dire</em>. This isn't just about being poor. This is about having absolutely no money at all. How in the world can Charlie get himself out of this predicament?

    The situation became desperate. Breakfast was a single slice of bread for each person now, and lunch was maybe half a boiled potato. (10.7)

    Yikes. Things are not going well for Charlie and his family. No more margarine on the bread, no more cabbage with the potatoes. We can't help but worry about what might happen to them, because they don't seem to be headed for greener pastures.

    The excitement over the Golden Tickets had long since been forgotten. Nobody in the family gave a thought now to anything except the two vital problems of trying to keep warm and trying to get enough to eat. (10.4)

    This might just be the saddest moment in the story. After two tries at getting a golden ticket, the Bucket family has all but given up hope. Think about the problems the other families in the story face. Are they worried about trying to keep warm? Do they have to try hard just to get enough to eat?

    There is something about very cold weather that gives one an enormous appetite. Most of us find ourselves beginning to crave rich steaming stews and hot apple pies and all kinds of delicious warming dishes; and because we are all a great deal luckier than we realize, we usually get what we want – or near enough. (10.5)

    If only the Gloops and the Salts and the Beauregardes and the Teavees could read this. Their kids might be a little less foolish, a little less greedy, and a little more like Charlie.

    Charlie Bucket

    <em>A WHOLE fifty pence!
    </em>He held it tightly between his shivering fingers, gazing down at it. It meant one thing to him at that moment, only <em>one</em> thing. It meant FOOD. (10.25-26)

    The average kid might see a fifty-pence piece and think of toys, trinkets, pinball, or candy. What does Charlie think of? FOOD. Clearly, he's not your typical kid. And clearly he's got bigger problems than the Veruca Salts of the world.

    Chapter 13

    "Why hasn't he got a coat on in this cold weather?"
    "Don't ask me. Maybe he can't afford to buy one."
    "Goodness me! He must be freezing!" (13.24-26)

    These onlookers seem oddly shocked that Charlie doesn't have enough money to buy a coat, almost as if they haven't heard of anyone being quite so broke. This makes Charlie and his family stick out even more.

  • Awe and Amazement

    Chapter 1

    Oh, how he loved that smell! (1.22)

    Have you noticed just how many exclamation points Dahl uses in this story? If exclamation points don't show awe and amazement, we don't know what does.

    What a tremendous, marvelous place it was! (1.20)

    We haven't even seen inside the chocolate factory, and neither has Charlie. But we already know it's going to be awesome. For now, we'll just let our imaginations do the work.

    In the town itself, actually, within <em>sight</em> of the house in which Charlie lived, there was an ENORMOUS CHOCOLATE FACTORY!
    Just imagine that! (1.19)

    Who wouldn't be amazed by an enormous chocolate factory? Even in the first chapter, we readers know we're in for all kinds of surprising delights.

    Chapter 11
    Charlie Bucket

    Charlie hadn't moved. He hadn't even unwrapped the Golden Ticket from around the chocolate. He was standing very still, holding it tightly with both hands while the crowd pushed and shouted all around him. He felt quite dizzy. (11.20)

    It's almost as if time has stood still. Charlie is totally unable to believe his own luck. And Dahl describes the moment so perfectly, it feels like we're standing right next to Charlie, jaws on the floor.

    Chapter 15

    The children and their parents were too flabbergasted to speak. They were staggered. They were dumbfounded. They were bewildered and dazzled. They were completely bowled over by the hugeness of the whole thing. They simply stood and stared. (15.8)

    In case we can't get the hint, Dahl gives us a whole string of words to show the awe and amazement everyone must be feeling, followed by the classic shock pose: standing and staring. After all, what else can you do when you're "completely bowled over?"

    Mr. Wonka opened the door. Five children and nine grown-ups pushed their ways in – and <em>oh</em>, what an amazing sight it was that now met their eyes! (15.2)

    Dahl's such a good writer that he manages to perfectly recreate the feeling the families must have had when they walked in to the factory. Check out the way he interrupts the sentence. The families are simply walking into the factory, and – boom! Suddenly they're in the most amazing place on earth. When we read the sentence, we feel the shock of the sight too.

    Willy Wonka

    "Isn't it terrific?" (15.7)

    Even Mr. Wonka is amazed by his own creations, as if he's seeing them for the first time.

    Chapter 18
    Charlie Bucket

    Everything that he had seen so far – the great chocolate river, the waterfall, the huge sucking pipes, the minty sugar meadows, the Oompa-Loompas, the beautiful pink boat, and most of all, Mr. Willy Wonka himself – had been so astonishing that he began to wonder whether there could possibly be any more astonishments left. (18.10)

    Charlie hasn't had a lot of astonishments in his life. He's been hungry and poor for quite a while. So imagine how spectacular it must feel to wander among minty sugar meadows and chocolate rivers. If anyone deserves such fun, it's Charlie.

    Chapter 25
    Charlie Bucket

    Charlie Bucket stared around him in astonishment. This was the craziest elevator he had ever seen. There were buttons everywhere! (25.7)

    The chocolate factory is astonishing right down to the last detail. Even the elevator.

    Chapter 27
    Grandpa Joe

    "It's absolutely fantastic!" gasped Grandpa Joe. "It's...it's...it's a miracle!" (27.29)

    What's so great about <em>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</em> is that even the adults get to join in on the awe and amazement. Grandpa Joe hasn't had a very easy life, but now, at the ripe old age of ninety-six and a half, he gets to witness a miracle.

  • Greed

    Chapter 1

    Many times a day, he would see other children taking bars of creamy chocolate out of their pockets and munching them greedily, and <em>that</em>, of course, was <em>pure </em>torture (1.15).

    Charlie literally can't afford to be greedy. He gets one chocolate bar a year. And don't forget – Charlie savors his. You won't see him eating the whole thing in one sitting.

    Chapter 6
    Mr. and Mrs. Gloop

    "He eats <em>so many</em> bars of chocolate a day that it was almost <em>impossible</em> for him <em>not</em> to find one. Eating is his hobby, you know. That's <em>all</em> he's interested in. But still, that's better than being a <em>hooligan</em> and shooting off <em>zip guns</em> and things like that in his spare time, isn't it?" (6.2)

    Hmm. Is it really better? Of course shooting off zip guns sounds dangerous, but so does almost drowning in a chocolate river, which is what Augustus eventually does.

    Fully grown women were seen going into sweet shops and buying ten Wonka bars at a time, then tearing off the wrappers on the spot and peering eagerly underneath for a glint of golden paper. Children were taking hammers and smashing their piggy banks and running out to the shops with handfuls of money. In one city, a famous gangster robbed a bank of ten thousand pounds and spent the whole lot on Wonka bars that same afternoon. (6.6)

    Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket offer certainly doesn't seem to be bringing out the best in people. Do you think Wonka is enjoying the commotion? Or is he horrified?

    Veruca Salt

    "'<em>Where's my Golden Ticket! I want my Golden Ticket!'" </em>(6.9)

    Who says this? Veruca Salt, of course – the greediest, most spoiled child of them all. Just look at what she says: <em>my </em>Golden Ticket, as if the ticket was destined to go to her, and no other kids have any chance at it.

    Chapter 10
    Charlie Bucket

    [...] and what he would <em>do</em>, he whispered quickly to himself... he would buy one luscious bar of chocolate and eat it <em>all </em>up, every bit of it, right then and there... (10.27)

    This is Charlie's one greedy moment. He finally gets to eat a chocolate bar all at once, just like all the other kids. We can't help but let out a little cheer for the kid.

    Chapter 11
    The Shopkeeper

    "Why, I'd give him <em>two hundred</em> pounds for that ticket! You want to sell that ticket for two hundred pounds, young man?" (11.22)

    Two hundred pounds for a chocolate bar? And a piece of golden paper? That's a little steep, if you ask us. But that's how bad this guy – a grown man – wants to visit the chocolate factory. What we love about this moment, though, is that Charlie isn't tempted by the money, even though his family sure could use it. Good for you, Charlie.

    Chapter 16
    Veruca Salt

    <em>"But I want an Oompa-Loompa!" </em>screamed Veruca.
    "All <em>right</em>, Veruca, all <em>right. </em>But I can't get it for you this second. Please be patient. I'll see you have one before the day is out." (16.14)

    Veruca's so greedy, she actually wants to keep real people as pets. Check out how her parents give in to her greediness, too. They promise they'll get her an Oompa-Loompa, never stopping to think that that might not be possible, or even right.

    Chapter 17
    The Oompa-Loompas

    <em>"Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop!
    The great big greedy nincompoop!
    How long could we allow this beast
    To gorge and guzzle, feed and feast
    On everything he wanted to?
    Great Scott! It simply wouldn't do!"(17.64)

    </em>Hmm. The Oompa-Loompas are making it seem as if they made Augustus fall into the river and get sucked up the pipe as punishment for his greed and gluttony. But is that really what happened? Take a closer look at Chapter 17 to find out.

    Chapter 24
    Willy Wonka

    "They're not for sale," Mr. Wonka answered. "She can't have one."
    "Who says I can't!" shouted Veruca. "I'm going in to get myself one this very minute!" (24.19)

    Veruca, Veruca, Veruca. Will you ever learn? She's so greedy she can't even understand that she simply can't have what she wants. The Oompa-Loompas, after all, are people – they're not for sale.

    Chapter 27
    Mike Teavee

    "I want to watch television! I want to watch television! I want to watch television!" (27.56)

    Mike is relentless. You'd think after being shrunk by Mr. Wonka's television, he'd be a little turned off by the whole idea, but no. He still wants nothing more than to watch TV.

  • Foolishness and Folly

    Chapter 3
    Prince Pondicherry

    "'Nonsense!' shouted the Prince. 'I'm not going to eat my palace! I'm not even going to nibble the staircase or lick the walls! I'm going to <em>live</em> in it!'" (3.5)

    Okay, Prince Pondicherry. We understand that most palaces are meant to be lived in. But are most palaces made of chocolate?

    Chapter 6

    The famous English scientist, Professor Foulbody, invented a machine which would tell you at once, without opening the wrapper of a bar of chocolate, whether or not there was a Golden Ticket hidden underneath it. […] But unfortunately, while the Professor was showing off the machine to the public […] the mechanical arm shot out and made a grab for the gold filling in the back tooth of a duchess who was standing near by. (6.6)

    This machine might have seemed like a good idea at first, but once we think about it, a robot arm grabbing anything gold sounds a wee bit dangerous. It seems like the professor got so caught up in the search for the Golden Ticket, he didn't think too hard about his design.

    Chapter 11
    Charlie Bucket

    "I think," he said quietly, "I think... I'll have just one more of those chocolate bars. The same kind as before, please." (11.8)

    Poor Charlie. This is his most foolish moment in the story. But he's such a good kid, the craziest thing he can do is buy another chocolate bar, even though he doesn't really need it, and could spend the money on something a little more healthful. If that's Charlie being foolish, he's generally in good shape.

    Chapter 17

    But Augustus was deaf to everything except the call of his enormous stomach. He was now lying full length on the ground with his head far out over the river, lapping up the chocolate like a dog. (17.8)

    Augustus is being quite foolish, of course, but he's also being totally selfish. After all, he has a cold. Gross. So we don't feel too sorry for him when he falls in the river and gets stuck in the tube.

    Chapter 21
    Mr. and Mrs. Beauregarde

    "Now, Violet," said Mrs. Beauregarde, her mother, "don't let's do anything silly, Violet."
    "I want the gum," Violet said obstinately. "What's so silly? (21.8-9)

    Oh, now this is interesting. Violet is, shall we say, not the sharpest tack in the box. To her, wanting the gum is all that matters, even though she has no idea what kind of crazy things might happen to her if she chews it. Of course we know chewing this particular gum would be more than silly – it would be downright dangerous.

    Violet Beauregarde

    "Oh, to blazes with that!" said Violet, and suddenly, before Mr. Wonka could stop her, she shot out a fat hand and grabbed the stick of gum out of the little drawer and popped it into her mouth. (21.11)

    Violet doesn't think gum-chewing is so risky. She wants that gum, and she'll chew it. Who cares what happens afterwards? As it turns out, she does.

    Chapter 22
    Willy Wonka

    "Well, well well," sighed Mr. Willy Wonka, "two naughty little children gone. Three good little children left. I think we'd better get out of this room quickly before we lose anyone else!" (22.1)

    Now we've got the real story. It's the naughty children – who make foolish choices – who are gone. But the well-behaved ones will get to see the rest of the factory. Or so we think…

    Chapter 24
    Willy Wonka

    "Don't!" said Mr. Wonka quickly, but he was too late. The girl had already thrown open the door and rushed in. (24.20)

    Why won't any of these kids listen? It seems like no matter what Mr. Wonka or their parents say, these kids do the exact opposite. Except our Charlie, of course.

    Chapter 25

    Mrs. Salt bent further forward to get a closer look. She was now kneeling right on the edge of the whole with her head down and her enormous behind sticking up in the air like a giant mushroom. It was a dangerous position to be in. She needed only one tiny little push... one gentle nudge in the right direction... and <em>that</em> is exactly what the squirrels gave her!" (25.56)

    Up until now, it's mostly been the children who have been foolishly misbehaving. But here, Mrs. Salt behaves just as dumbly as her daughter. And of course, she pays for her own mistake, too.

    Chapter 27

    But there was no stopping Mike Teavee. The crazy boy rushed on, and when he reached the enormous camera, he jumped straight for the switch, scattering Oompa-Loompa right and left as he went. (27.12)

    Mike Teavee, the last of the kids besides Charlie, turns out to be just as foolish as the rest, even though Mr. Wonka has told him that sending himself through the television "might have some very nasty results." (27.8)

  • Appearances

    Chapter 6

    And every day, Charlie Bucket grew thinner and thinner. His face became frighteningly white and pinched. The skin was drawn so tightly over the cheeks that you could see the shapes of the bones underneath. It seemed doubtful whether he could go on much longer like this without becoming dangerously ill. (6.14)

    Check out this description of Charlie, and compare it to the description of Augustus that we got earlier in the chapter. Quite the contrast, right?

    The picture showed a nine-year-old boy who was so enormously fat he looked as thought he had been blown up with a powerful pump. (6.1)

    This describes, of course, Augustus Gloop. From the looks of him, he's quite the glutton. And we'll find out later that this turns out to be true.

    Chapter 11

    The man behind the counter looked fat and well fed. He had big lips and fat cheeks and a very fat neck. (11.3)

    Here's another well-fed member of Charlie's community. It seems like everyone around him is better fed (read: fatter) than he is.

    Chapter 12
    Grandpa Joe

    "You must start making preparations at once! Wash your face, comb your hair, scrub your hands, brush your teeth, blow your nose, cut your nails, polish your shoes, iron your shirt, and for heaven's sake, get all that mud off your pants! You must get ready, my boy! You must get ready for the biggest day of your life!" (12.23)

    We have to admit – Charlie isn't exactly presentable these days. He's so skinny he looks like a skeleton, and we're willing to bet that his clothes and shoes are worn. But the least he can do is put his best foot forward and make himself look as sharp as possible. After all, it's not everyday that a boy gets to go to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

    Chapter 13

    "Charlie Bucket? He must be the skinny little shrimp standing next to the old fellow who looks like a skeleton." (13.23)

    Just in case we haven't gotten the hint, our narrator shows us once again: Charlie's skinny, and so's his Grandpa. One thing we like about this quote is that it's proof that Charlie doesn't quite belong with these other kids. He sticks out like a sore thumb because he's so skinny, while the other kids are plump, well fed, and of course, spoiled.

    Chapter 14

    And what an extraordinary little man he was! (14.2)

    Ah, our first sight of the famous Willy Wonka. And he's quite the strange man. In fact, we'll soon find out that just about everything in his factory is strange and, it goes without saying, extraordinary.

    Covering his chin, there was a small, neat, pointed black beard – a goatee. And his eyes – his eyes were most marvelously bright. They seemed to be sparkling and twinkling at you all the time. The whole face, in fact, was alight with fun and laughter. (14.8)

    Mr. Wonka's personality seems even more extraordinary than his outfit. As soon as we see that twinkle in his bright eyes, we know Charlie and Grandpa Joe are in for some fun adventures.

    He had a black top hat on his head.
    He wore a tail coat made of a beautiful plum-colored velvet.
    His trousers were bottle green.
    His gloves were pearly gray. (14.3-6)

    Check out the outfit. Sounds pretty fancy to us. But why is Mr. Wonka dressed so strangely? Is this what makes him extraordinary? Or is it something else?

    Chapter 15
    The Oompa-Loompas

    "Aren't they <em>fantastic</em>!"
    "No higher than my knee!"
    "Look at their funny long hair!"
    The tiny men – they were no larger than medium-sized dolls – had stopped what they were
    doing, and now they were staring back across the river at the visitors. (15.27-30)

    Here's our first glimpse at the Oompa-Loompas, and it's quite the glimpse. Their appearance is odd, to say the least. So here's a question: why is everything in this chocolate factory so strange looking?

    Chapter 21

    But there was no saving her now. Her body was swelling up and changing shape at such a rate that within a minute it had turned into nothing less than an enormous round blue ball – a gigantic blueberry, in fact – and all that remained of Violet Beauregarde herself was a tiny pair of legs and a tiny pair of arms sticking out of the great round fruit and little head on top. (21.44)

    Violet, like the other non-Charlie children in the story, undergoes a major change in her appearance. Shocking, even. Take a look at those other changes, too, in Chapter 29.

  • Rules and Order

    Chapter 12
    Willy Wonka

    "On this day, and no other, you must come to the factory gates at ten o'clock sharp in the morning. Don't be late! And you are allowed to bring with you either one or two members of your own family to look after you and to ensure that you don't get into mischief. One more thing – be certain to have this ticket with you, otherwise you will not be admitted." (12.20)

    Of course, now that we've read the book, we know that most of the parents don't even come close to making sure their kids don't get into "mischief." And Charlie, the one kid who doesn't get into trouble, was never once tempted during the tour.

    Chapter 15
    Willy Wonka

    "But <em>do</em> be careful, my dear children! Don't lose your heads! Don't get overexcited! Keep very calm!" (15.1)

    Wise advice from our Mr. Wonka. Of course it's immediately ignored by just about everyone (besides Charlie and Grandpa Joe).

    Chapter 17
    Willy Wonka

    "Oh, no! <em>Please, </em>Augustus, <em>please</em>! I beg of you not to do that. My chocolate must be untouched by human hands!" (17.1)

    Now there's an interesting rule. Why must Mr. Wonka's chocolate "be untouched by human hands"? Is it because of germs? Or does Mr. Wonka have some other reason for this rule?

    Chapter 18
    Mike Teavee

    "Hey there! Mike Teavee!" shouted Mr. Wonka. "Please do not lick the boat with your tongue! It'll only make it sticky!" (18.8)

    We're beginning to notice that most of Mr. Wonka's rules and requests are pretty much common sense. So why can't the children seem to follow them? Are they <em>trying</em> to get themselves hurt?

    Chapter 19
    Willy Wonka

    "But now, listen to me! I want no messing about when you go in! No touching, no meddling, and no tasting! Is that agreed?"
    "Yes, yes!" the children cried. "We won't touch a thing!" (19.3-4)

    From our experience so far, we know that this promise the children make is bound to be broken. Lo and behold, it is – this time by Violet Beauregarde.

    Chapter 21
    Willy Wonka

    "I would rather you didn't take it," Mr. Wonka told her gently. "You see, I haven't got it <em>quite right</em> yet. There are still one or two things..." (21.10)

    We think Mr. Wonka is being very polite here. Which makes the fact that Violet takes the gum all the ruder. Why can't these kids just listen?

    Chapter 24
    Willy Wonka

    "But don't go in! Whatever you do, don't go into THE NUT ROOM! If you go in, you'll disturb the squirrels!" (24.2)

    In this case, Mr. Wonka is more urgent than polite, so we know that whatever happens when one disturbs the squirrels can't be good.

    Chapter 25
    Willy Wonka

    "Just a minute now! Listen to me! I want everybody to be very careful in this room. There is dangerous stuff around in here and you <em>must not</em> tamper with it." (25.59)

    We've noticed – and maybe you have, too – that Mr. Wonka seems to be growing more impatient and frustrated each time he has to tell the tour not to touch things in his factory. After everything that's happened so far, we can understand why.

    Chapter 26
    Willy Wonka

    Mr. Wonka handed each of them a pair of dark glasses and said, "Put these on quick! And don't take them off in here whatever you do! This light could blind you!" (26.1)

    Yikes. This sounds just plain dangerous. It's interesting that a place so wonderful has so many of its own kinds of hazards.

    Chapter 27
    Willy Wonka

    <em>"No, no! Stop! Hold everything! </em>You there! Mike Teavee! Stand back! You're too close to the camera! There are dangerous rays coming out of that thing!" (27.17)

    Does Mike Teavee care about dangerous rays? Of course not. After all, television has made his brain "AS SOFT AS CHEESE" (27.77). Any kid with his wits about him probably wouldn't go near a camera emitting dangerous rays.

  • Madness

    Chapter 14

    He kept making quick jerky little movements with his head, cocking it this way and that, and taking everything in with those bright twinkling eyes. […] Suddenly he did a funny little skipping dance in the snow […] (14.10)

    What in the world is Willy Wonka doing? To be honest, we've asked ourselves that question a lot over the course of this book. Sometimes, there's just no explaining it.

    Willy Wonka

    "And this? Your grandfather? Delighted to meet you, sir! Overjoyed! Enraptured! Enchanted! All right! Excellent! Is everybody in now? Five children? Yes! Good!" (14.19)

    Mr. Wonka seems ridiculously enthusiastic about this whole adventure. Do you think he's just off his rocker? Or does he have a reason to be so perky?

    Chapter 16
    Willy Wonka

    "Imported direct from Loompaland," said Mr. Wonka proudly.
    "There's not such place," said Mrs. Salt.
    "Excuse me, dear lady, but..."
    "<em>Mr. Wonka,</em>" cried Mrs. Salt. "I'm a teacher of geography..."
    "Then you'll know all about it," said Mr. Wonka. (16.2-6)

    This is a pretty funny moment. We've certainly never heard of a place called Loompaland, and of course Mrs. Salt hasn't either. But Mr. Wonka is so sure of himself! And the Oompa-Loompas do exist, obviously, so he can't be that crazy, can he?

    Chapter 17
    Mr. and Mrs. Gloop

    "Mr. Wonka doesn't seem to think so!" cried. Mrs. Gloop. "Just look at him! He's laughing his head off! How <em>dare</em> you laugh like that when my boy's just gone up the pipe! You monster!" (17.40)

    Even though Mrs. Gloop is the one who seems to be accusing Mr. Wonka of being crazy, she's getting pretty crazy herself. In fact, everyone's acting a bit kooky at the chocolate factory. Maybe it's the grass made of sugar…

    Willy Wonka

    "I'm joking," said Mr. Wonka, giggling madly behind his beard. "I didn't mean it. Forgive me. I'm so sorry." (17.60)

    Let's take a closer peek at what's going on here. Augustus Gloop has just gotten sucked up out of the chocolate river and into the glass tube. His parents are, understandably, a little concerned. But what's Mr. Wonka concerned about? His chocolate, of course. Except he swears he's joking. But do we really believe him? The man lives and breathes chocolate, after all, so what's one little kid lost in the chocolate river?

    Chapter 18
    Willy Wonka

    "He's gone off his rocker!" shouted one of the fathers, aghast, and the other parents joined in the chorus of frightened shouting. "He's crazy!" they shouted.
    "He's balmy!"
    "He's nutty!"
    "He's screwy!" (18.25-28)

    And so on. The Gloops, Salts, Beauregardes, and Teavees are just about at the end of their rope. But what do you think: is Willy Wonka really off his rocker?

    "Just as a poached egg isn't a poached egg unless it's been stolen from the woods in the dead of night!" (18.45)

    Mr. Wonka is known for his puns. Can you figure this one out?

    Chapter 22
    Mike Teavee

    "But what <em>does</em> a snozzberry taste like?"
    "You're mumbling again," said Mr. Wonka. "Speak louder next time. On we go! Hurry up!" (22.19)

    Often, Mr. Wonka seems to be barely listening. Is this a sign of madness, or does he just have more important things on his mind?

    Chapter 27
    Willy Wonka

    "Do you know what breakfast cereal is made of? It's made of all those little curly wooden shavings you find in pencil sharpeners!" (27.2)

    Well, if he's talking about shredded wheat (unfrosted, of course), then we have to agree. But what's so great about this statement is that in Mr. Wonka's world, this seemingly nuts statement has a ring of truth. It's entirely possible that if Mr. Wonka were to take a crack at making breakfast cereal, he'd make it with pencil shavings.

    Mike Teavee

    "Could you send a real live person from one place to another in the same way?
    "A <em>person</em>!" cried Mr. Wonka. "Are you off your rocker?" (27.5-6)

    This time it's Mr. Wonka who's accusing someone else of insanity. In this case, it's Mike Teavee, who is definitely crazy – about television.