After watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory over 70 times in the past 3 months and memorizing it by heart, I have come to question reality as I saw it. Things are no longer as simple as they once were and, interestingly enough, I have come to believe that chocolate is made by oompa loompas.
Dahl’s amazing creativity is evident in his children books (of which I read just a few) and come to question whether the books were written as a good fiction or do they carry in their pages something of a deeper nature? Although Dhal isn’t a psychologist, I must respect the fact that his experience does give him validity to be an observer and storyteller. How so? Firstly, Dahl portrays five children and their respective parents in the book. I found out that Dahl had up to 9 different children who were to enter the chocolate factory with Charlie. By choosing to stick with five, Dahl decided to shine light on the gluttonous Augustus Gloop, the competitive Violet, the spoiled Veruca, and the television addict Mike Teavee. It could be safe to say that Dahl chose these five characters and personalities because he saw them as the most destructive to children. It could also be safe to say that Dahl may have encountered people in his childhood (or later life) and got so shocked by their personalities that he believed they should be punished.
One of the issues that Dahl was criticized over was the fact the the antagonists are the “bad” children. Although the children were portrayed as stereotypes of how-kids-should-not-act, their parents were also portrayed as reasons behind their characters. So whose fault is it that Augustus keeps getting chocolate whenever he feels like it? Is Dhal trying to enforce parents into taking responsibility over their children’s negative personality traits or is he placing the blame on Willy Wonka. Also, who gave Willy Wonka the right to discipline these children (and their parents) by using different sadistic punishments such as being blown up into a blueberry and getting the juice squeezed out or by being pulled in the toffee maker after being shrunk in size? Yes, the children should have learned their lessons but does Dahl really tell readers (and viewers) how to best act?
Is Roald Dahl Charlie or Willie Wonka?
The five golden tickets that were sent out to people around the world were sent to find an heir for Willy Wonka’s factory. In the story, the children didn’t know what the prize was but were happy just to enter the factory. What about you? Where would your golden ticket take you and what would be the grand prize? Many people work hard to go on vacations but how can that vacation be turned into a prize (and thus a lifestyle?) The golden ticket takes you to two places: one is temporary and is a test and the other is the grand prize. We should strive to make sure that we do not get sidetracked by the “chocolate” along the way and concentrate on getting the real deal.
But did Charlie even get sidetracked or did he live his experience vicariously through the other four and was just lucky enough to be the last man standing? So is that the way Dahl thinks we should win life?
Is Willy Wonka’s factory a representation of life?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp’s sarcastic comments gives it a little more humor for adults while children watch the plot unknowingly, nodding at Johnny Depp explaining that “everything in this room is eatable, even I’m eatable! But that is called “cannibalism,” my dear children, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies.” Is this a Dahl comment or Tim Burton’s twist on things? So, just as the movie has a different perceptive level suitable for adults, Dahl may have entrusted his book to hold some philosophy over children personalities, dealing with the antagonist within us, and the best way to fix bad children is through punishment.
What I prefer to question is where my golden ticket would take me and would I be the end winner of the grand prize.
Simple? No, Roald Dhal was more complex than a few children’s books and would surely get his philosophies and life wisdom and ideas into children’s books.