A World of Pure Imagination...

“Mr Willy Wonka can make marshmallows that taste of violets, and rich caramels that change colour every ten seconds as you suck them, and little feathery sweets that melt away deliciously the moment you put them between your lips. He can make chewing-gum that never loses its taste, and candy balloons that you can blow up to enormous sizes before you pop them with a pin and gobble them up” (11).

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory aptly depicts an extreme desire for sweet foods, whilst illustrating 
the potential for danger in it. The protagonist, Charlie Bucket, is poor and only acquires chocolate one day of the year. The factory and ticket represent all the things he wants but is unable to have; instead, his family live in a state of poverty and hunger. By comparison, the other characters that discover their own Golden Tickets are extremely flawed. The morality of Dahl's child characters is always absolute. They are either good or bad, and there is no in-between. Imbued with many positive qualities, the only likable child within this world is Charlie.

Thus, Dahl explores the relationship between food and vice. Charlie is undoubtedly the hero of the novel as he has no identifiable vices. By comparison, the unpleasant child characters personify their vices. The first to discover his ticket, Augustus Gloop, is greedy beyond measure. He is described as having “great flabby folds of fat [that] bulged out from every part of his body, and his face was like a monstrous ball of dough with two small greedy curranty eyes peering out upon the world” (21). Augustus gloop is a grotesque figure of the novel that is ultimately easy to mock and acts as a contrast to Charlie. The other children are no better than Augustus – Veruca Salt is spoilt, Violet Beauregarde chews gum all day, and Mike Teavee constantly watches television.

To underline the novel with a moral code, these ‘bad’ children are inevitably punished within the chocolate factory. After falling in to a river filled with chocolate, of which he was not meant to drink from, Augustus is “pulled under the surface and then into the mouth of the pipe” (74). Similarly, Violet Beauregarde chews gum to the extent she is turned into a giant blueberry. These children appear to be reinserted in to the moral system as they are punished for their wrong doings and vices. They become a physical manifestation of their grotesque personalities, and these extreme punishments are intended to reform these characters.

As the only moral child of the novel, Charlie receives all commendations and rewards. This shows how powerful food can be as a motivator of good behaviour.

Works Cited
Dahl, R. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. London: Puffin Books, 2007. Print.

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