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.
"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?
"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?
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…
"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?
"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?
"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?
"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.
"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.