A Quick Synopsis of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Contains Plot Spoilers)
Charlie Bucket is a young boy who lives in a small two-roomed house with his parents and four grandparents. Charlie’s family is extremely poor and cannot afford enough beds or food. Charlie’s greatest desire is chocolate and he wished more than anything to go into Wonka’s Factory.
In the evenings, Charlie sits with his grandparents and listens to their stories. Grandpa Joe begins telling Charlie about Willy Wonka and all his great inventions, including 200 kinds of candy bars and ice cream that doesn’t melt. The story leaves Charlie wondering about the factory’s workers and why he never sees anybody going in or going out of the factory.
Mr. Bucket bring home a newspaper with the headline, “WONKA FACTORY TO BE OPENED AT LAST TO LUCKY FEW”. Willy Wonka has wrapped five Wonka bars with golden tickets. The children who find the golden tickets will take a tour of the factory and receive a lifetime supply of chocolate. Charlie and Grandpa Joe do not believe Charlie will be able to win the golden ticket, because he only receives one chocolate bar each year, for his birthday.
Augustus Gloop, a chubby boy who has a hobby of eating, and Veruca Salt, a spoiled girl, find the first two golden tickets. Charlie eagerly awaits his birthday hoping that he’ll find a golden ticket. The family watches intently as Charlie opens his Wonka bar. Prepared for disappointment, nevertheless they all hope that Charlie will find a golden ticket. However, Charlie only opens a regular chocolate bar.
Two more ticket are discovered, by Miss Violet Beauregarde, a girl obsessed with chewing gum, and Mike Teavee, a boy obsessed with watching television. Charlie’s grandparents are disgusted that bratty children that are winning the tickets, and decide that another bratty kid will be the winner of the last ticket.
A cold winter hits and Mr. Bucket loses his job. The family begins to starve worse than ever. All excitement over the golden tickets has withered. Walking home from school however, Charlie finds a one dollar bill and goes into the nearest shop to purchase a bar of chocolate. After wolfing it down, Charlie notices he has nine dimes left and decides to buy just one more piece.
The bar contains the last golden ticket. A crowd begins to form, and some people try to bribe Charlie with money and gifts in exchange for the golden ticket. The shopkeeper interjects and advises Charlie to hold on to the ticket and run home as fast as he can.
Charlie arrives home shouting excitedly. Grandpa Joe is filled with such excitement that he jumps out of bed for the first time in 20 years! It is decided that Grandpa Joe will be the one to escort Charlie to the Willie Wonka Factory.
At the factory, a crowd waits for a glimpse of the five famous children and Willie Wonka himself. At 10:00, Willie Wonka welcomes the five children and their families into the twisted passageways and underground to The Chocolate Room.
The Chocolate Room is filled with beautiful plants and trees, a chocolate river with a chocolate waterfall, and long glass pipes that transport the chocolate to other rooms in the factory. On the other side of the river the Oompa-Loompas are spotted. Mr. Wonka explains how he came about bringing the Oompa-Loompas to work in his factory.
Meanwhile, Augustus Gloop is gulping handfuls of chocolate from the river. He leans too far over the edge and falls into the river, gets sucked up into the pipe, is rocketed to the fudge room. The Oompa-Loompas sing a song about a no-good boy being turned into delicious fudge. Charlie and Grandpa Joe wonder whether or not they are joking.
Wonka and his guests hop aboard a boiled-sweet boat and head down the chocolate river. The Oompa-Loompas row the boat faster and faster until they reach some peculiar rooms, stopping at one labeled, “Inventing Room – Private – Keep Out”. Wonka excitedly shows the group the Everlasting Gobstopper and Hair Toffee, but warns them not to touch or taste anything.
He then turns on a machine that creates a stick of gray gum equal to an entire three course meal. Mr. Willie Wonka warns that the gum is not quite right, but Violet Beauregarde grabs it and begins chewing. She tastes tomato soup, a baked potato with roast beef, and blueberry pie. As she eats the dessert, her face begins to turn blue and her body swells into a giant blueberry. Willie Wonka calls for the Oompa-Loompas to roll her to the Juicing Room.
The group continues weaving through the hallways and stop to watch the squirrels work in the Nut Room. Veruca Salt decides that she wants her own squirrel and goes into the room to catch one. Instead, the squirrels pin her down, knock on her head, decide she is a bad nut, and send her down the garbage chute.
The small group enters a glass elevator. Mike Teavee and Charlie get to each choose one of the thousands of buttons on the elevator. Mike chooses “Television Chocolate”, snd the elevator moves every which way with the speed of a rocket. They arrive in a room where giant chocolate bars are sent electronically to the television. With Wonka’s permission, Charlie reaches into the television, grabs the chocolate, and eats a bite. Grandpa Joe calls it a miracle, but Michael Teavee is even more excited. He wants to be the first person in the world to be sent by television. Before anybody can stop him, he jumps in. His body is sent to the television, but now he is only an inch tall. His worried parents tuck him into a pocket and follow the Oompa-Loompas out.
Wonka, Charlie, and Grandpa Joe return to the glass elevator. Willie Wonka acts surprised that Charlie is the last child and exclaims that Charlie has won. Willie presses the button, “Up and Out” and the elevator blasts through the top of the factory and hovers in the air. Down below, they can see the other kids and their parents leaving the factory: Augustus has slimmed down after being sucked through the pipe, Violet’s face is purple, the Salt family is covered in trash, and Mike Teavee has been stretched to be ten feet tall.
The glass elevator swings even higher and hovers above the town. Mr. Wonka explains to Charlie that he is an old man and wants to gives Charlie the entire factory. Charlie and Grandpa Joe are ecstatic, but Charlie is concerned for his other grandparents, who are unable to get out of bed. Wonka is not troubled by this at all. The elevator crashes right through the roof of their cottage, picks up the bed and all of Charlie’s family, and moves them into the Willie Wonka Chocolate Factory.
Essential Questions for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- What impact does greed have on people?
- What is the difference between rich and poor?
- Do people learn from their mistakes? Why or why not?
- Is there such thing as a “normal” family? Why or why not?