Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 children's novel by British author Roald Dahl. The story features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was first published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in 1964 and in the United Kingdom by George Allen & Unwin, 11 months later. The book has been adapted into two major motion pictures: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in 1971, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005. The book's sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, was written by Roald Dahl in 1971 and published in 1972. Dahl had also planned to write a third book in the series but never finished it.
The story was originally inspired by Roald Dahl's experience of chocolate companies during his schooldays. Cadbury would often send test packages to the schoolchildren in exchange for their opinions on the new products. At that time (around the 1920s), Cadbury and Rowntree's were England's two largest chocolate makers and they each often tried to steal trade secrets by sending spies, posing as employees, into the other's factory. Because of this, both companies became highly protective of their chocolate-making processes. It was a combination of this secrecy and the elaborate, often gigantic, machines in the factory that inspired Dahl to write the story.
11-year-old Charlie Bucket lives in poverty in a tiny house with his parents and four grandparents. His grandparents share the only bed in the house, located in the only bedroom. Charlie and his parents sleep on a mattress on the floor. One day, Grandpa Joe tells him about the legendary and eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka and all the wonderful candies he made until the other candymakers sent in spies to steal his secret recipes, which led him to close the factory forever. The next day, the newspaper announces that Wonka is reopening the factory and has invited five children to come on a tour, after they find a Golden Ticket in a Wonka Bar. Each ticket find is a media sensation and each finder becomes a celebrity. The first four golden tickets are found by the gluttonous Augustus Gloop, the spoiled and petulant Veruca Salt, the gum-addicted Violet Beauregarde, and the TV-obsessed Mike Teavee.
One day, Charlie sees a fifty-pence coin (dollar bill in the US version) buried in the snow. He then buys himself a Wonka Bar and finds the fifth golden ticket. The ticket says he can bring any family members with him to the factory and Charlie's parents decide to allow Grandpa Joe to go with him.
After meeting Wonka, the kids and their parents go inside where they meet Oompa-Loompas, a race of small people who help him operate the factory since he rescued them from poverty and fear in their home country Loompaland. The other kids are ejected from the factory in comical, mysterious and painful ways, befitting their various greedy characters and personalities. Augustus gets sucked up the pipe after falling into the Chocolate River in the Chocolate Room, Violet blows up into a giant blueberry after sampling an experimental three-course chewing gum meal in the Inventing Room, Veruca is thrown down the rubbish chute in the Nut Room after the nut-testing squirrels consider her a "bad nut," and Mike gets shrunk after he tries to be the first person to be sent by television in the Television Room's Television Chocolate Technology. With only Charlie remaining, Wonka congratulates him for "winning" the factory and, after explaining his true age and the reason behind his Golden Tickets, names Charlie his successor. They ride the Great Glass Elevator to Charlie's house while the other four children go home (Augustus squeezed thin, Violet all blue in the face, Veruca covered in trash, and Mike stretched ten feet tall). Afterwards, Wonka invites Charlie's family to come live with him in the factory, and they do.
Dahl’s widow said that Charlie was originally written as 'a little black boy.' Dahl’s biographer said the change to a white character was driven by Dahl’s agent, who thought a black Charlie would not appeal to readers.
In the first published edition, the Oompa-Loompas were described as African pygmies, and were drawn this way in the original printed edition. After the announcement of a film adaptation sparked a statement from the NAACP expressing concern that the transportation of Oompa-Loompas to Wonka's factory resembled slavery, Dahl found himself sympathizing with the NAACP's concerns and published a revised edition. In this edition, as well as the subsequent sequel, the Oompa-Loompas were drawn as being white and appearing similar to hippies, and the references to Africa were deleted. Dahl later expressed regret over the original version, saying that his original intention of depicting Charlie as a black child was evidence that he was not racist.
Various unused and draft material from Dahl's early versions of the novel have been found. In the initial, unpublished drafts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory nine golden tickets were distributed to tour Willy Wonka's secret chocolate factory and the children faced more rooms and more temptations to test their self-control. Some of the names of the children cut from the final work include:
- Clarence Crump, Bertie Upside, and Terence Roper (who overindulge in Warming Candies)
- Elvira Entwhistle (lost down a trash chute, renamed as Veruca Salt)
- Violet Glockenberry (renamed Strabismus and finally Beauregarde)
- Miranda Grope and Augustus Pottle (lost up a chocolate pipe, combined into the character Augustus Gloop)
- Miranda Mary Piker (renamed from Miranda Grope, became the subject of Spotty Powder)
- Marvin Prune (a conceited boy)
- Wilbur Rice and Tommy Troutbeck, the subjects of The Vanilla Fudge Room
- Herpes Trout (renamed Mike Teavee)
"Spotty Powder" was first published as a short story in 1973. In 2005, The Times reprinted "Spotty Powder" as a "lost" chapter, saying it had been found in Dahl's desk, written backwards in mirror writing (the way Leonardo da Vinci wrote his journal). This chapter describes Spotty Powder, which looks and tastes like sugar, but causes bright red pox-like spots to appear on faces and necks five seconds after ingestion, so children who eat Spotty Powder do not have to go to school. The spots fade on their own a few hours later. After learning the purpose of Spotty Powder, the humourless, smug Miranda Piker and her equally humourless father (a schoolmaster) are enraged and disappear into the Spotty Powder room to sabotage the machine. Soon after entering, they are heard making what Mrs Piker interpreted as screams. Mr Wonka assures her (after making a brief joke where he claims that headmasters are one of the occasional ingredients) it was only laughter. Exactly what happened to them is not revealed in the extract.
In an early draft, sometime after being renamed from Miranda Grope to Miranda Piker but before "Spotty Powder" was written, she falls down the chocolate waterfall and ends up in the Peanut-Brittle Mixer. This results in the "rude and disobedient little kid" becoming "quite delicious." This early draft poem was slightly rewritten as an Oompa-Loompa song in the lost chapter, which now puts her in the "Spotty-Powder mixer" and instead of being "crunchy and ... good [peanut brittle]" she is now "useful [for truancy] and ... good."
"The Vanilla Fudge Room"
In 2014, The Guardian revealed that Dahl had cut another chapter ("The Vanilla Fudge Room") from an early draft of the book. The Guardian reported the now-eliminated passage was "deemed too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral for the tender minds of British children almost 50 years ago." In what was originally chapter five in that version of the book, Charlie goes to the factory with his mother (instead of his grandfather, as originally published). At this point, the chocolate factory tour is down to eight kids, including Tommy Troutbeck and Wilbur Rice. After the entire group climbs to the top of the titular fudge mountain, eating vanilla fudge along the way, Troutbeck and Rice decide to take a ride on the wagons carrying away chunks of fudge. The wagons take them directly to The Pounding And Cutting Room, where the fudge is reformed and sliced into small squares for retail sale. Wonka states the machine is equipped with "a large wire strainer ... which is used specially for catching children before they fall into the machine" adding that "It always catches them. At least it always has up to now."
The chapter dates back to an early draft with ten golden tickets, including two for Miranda Grope and Augustus Pottle, who fell into the chocolate river prior to the events of "Fudge Mountain". Augustus Pottle was routed to the Chocolate Fudge Room, not the Vanilla Fudge Room explored in this chapter, and Miranda Grope ended up in the Fruit and Nuts Room. In a later draft, she became known as Miranda Mary Piker, who went to the Peanut Brittle Room.
"The Warming Candy Room"
Also in 2014, Vanity Fair published a plot summary of "The Warming Candy Room", wherein three boys eat too many "warming candies" and end up "bursting with heat."
The Warming Candy Room is dominated by a boiler, which heats a scarlet liquid. The liquid is dispensed one drop at a time, where it cools and forms a hard shell, storing the heat and "by a magic process ... the hot heat changes into an amazing thing called 'cold heat.'" After eating a single warming candy, one could stand naked in the snow comfortably. This is met with predictable disbelief from Clarence Crump, Bertie Upside, and Terence Roper, who proceed to eat at least one hundred warming candies each, resulting in profuse perspiration. The three boys and their families discontinue the tour after they are taken to cool off "in the large refrigerator for a few hours."
"The Children's-Delight Room"
Roald Dahl originally planned for a child called Marvin Prune to be included in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl submitted the excised chapter regarding Marvin Prune to The Horn Book Review in the early 1970s. Rather than publish the chapter, Horn Book responded with a critical essay by novelist Eleanor Cameron, who criticised Dahl's worth as a human being.
Although it was believed that Horn Book never returned the chapter, Marvin Prune's chapter is actually available, but it has not yet been published. "The Children's-Delight Room" was reworked into "Spotty Powder". It is present in two versions. One features the workers from "The Vanilla Fudge Room" but also include "tiny whispery voices" who sing the songs after each child's exit, and Charlie with his mother and father. The second version features Grandpa Joe, Charlie's grandfather, who is present in the final book, and the Oompa-Loompas. In the version with the voices, the voices actually sing two songs, a two verse type one found in "The Vanilla Fudge Room", plus a longer one like the type that is found in the final book. Like Miranda, Marvin loves school and suffers the same fate as her—supposedly getting ground into powder.