Unfortunately, I did not find my golden ticket as you can see…. Did you?
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl is celebrating its 50th Anniversary since its first publication in 1964 here in the US by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. this year! You may remember the story of Charlie Bucket and his very special visit and tour of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, thanks to the two movie adaptations. To commemorate the 50th Anniversary, Penguin Books has released a new edition, complete with a new book cover illustration (see left).
I remember it as a nightmarish story of gluttony and greed and vanity and in the end, humility and honesty won the day. You don’t recall my take of the story? I was in 3rd grade when I first read Dahl’s tale of sugar overload, and I was terrified to the point that I did speak to my teacher about it. This was when she realized that I had a knack of reading deeper into a story than what I should be able to as a third grader. Don’t believe me? Let me enlighten you.
Remember Augustus Gloop? He was the first to find a golden ticket. This German-borne sweet tooth of a child was a round, striped, vested ball, who always had something smeared on his face, whether it was chocolate, whipped cream, mustard, whatever. Does the picture (see left) bring back memories of watching him fall into the Chocolate River? How about his “I’m drowning” scene, where he gets sucked under by the heavily sugared chocolate and up into a pipe that shoots him to who knows where? Augustus is the prime example of Gluttony; can’t get enough of a good thing, and even after Willy told him to stop drinking from the river, he continued and tipped himself into his doom. One deadly sin down….
How about everyone’s (almost everyone) favorite song in the first movie adaptation? “I want it now” sung by little miss priss, Veruca Salt, was the second child to find a golden ticket. She’s a spoiled rotten little girl, who gets everything she demands of her father. Though the first movie replaced the squirrels in the book with geese laying golden eggs, Veruca’s end is the same in the book and its 2 movie adaptations: She’s claimed as a “bad nut” (egg in the first movie) and gets discarded down something that looks like a trash shoot; only Willy wonders if the trash will be burnt that day or the next. Oops! Veruca is the image of Greed; want more and more, but unlike Gluttony, Greed will claim everything in sight, even if it doesn’t belong to them. Second deadly sin seen….
Next up is my favorite of the kids: Violet Beauregarde, the bubble blowing, gum chewing brat, who found the third golden ticket but was the second to get (excuse my Survivor reference) kicked off the tour. She’s my favorite, because she turned herself into a blueberry balloon and had to get “juiced”. She’s a hit for Pride, as she always had an answer to counter Willy, and by golly, you could tell she was the one who really got under Willy’s skin.
Moving right along to deadly sin number four: Vanity. This one goes to Mike Teavee, TV addict and star wannabe, who discovered the fourth golden ticket. If you recall, this pain in the rear end was discarded from the tour in the “transport room”, where Willy was testing the whole transporting chocolate through a miniaturization process for people to pluck the chocolate from their television sets. Vanity defines Mike Teavee as he was so blind in his desire for fame and being so involved with the television technology.
There’s four of the seven deadly sins, and technically, Dahl had written more children getting knocked off the tour, but the original publisher(s) told him that he can’t have hundreds of children disappearing and/or go missing in a children’s book. Guess he decided to listen and just use four.
In the end of it… we all know the ending… Charlie inherits the factory, and his family moves into the factory. Such a feel good story in the end, isn’t it? You just have to get through the nightmare disappearances and disturbing deadly sins references to get to it. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is still one of my favorite children’s stories, and I have far more better memories of the book than I do with Dahl’s The Witches, which I’m not even going to think about, seeing how I’m getting ready to turn off the lights! *squeak*
Happy 50th Anniversary, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!
Grab your copy of the book or of either movie and celebrate with me! I’ll be watching the second adaptation of the story that was released in 2005, starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket.