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#IHaveThoughts: Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Starting a new segment where I talk about books I actually love, but also... I have thoughts.

I have thoughts, but continue... Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl (1964)

1. So you're telling me lazy-ass Grandpa Joe can't get up and wash a dish, or leave the house to earn some money while his family literally starves... but say the words "chocolate factory tour" and suddenly he's Fred freakin' Astaire. This guy is like me on a Sunday:

Get off the couch

I can't, my legs don't work

Take a shower

I can't, my legs don't work

Do the laundry

I can't, my legs don't work

Want to go grab a doughnut from Misfit?

2. What actual rock has Charlie been living under. This kid must be like 15 years old by now and he's never heard anything about the largest chocolate factory in the world? You know, the one right next to his house that he walks by every day on his way to and from school. I'm meant to believe he comes home every day to his four vegetative grandparents, who tell him stories all night... but no one ever mentioned that Grandpa Joe used to work at the factory before Willy Wonka fired everyone, closed the factory, and then started it back up again with mysterious short people. He also never noticed that the gates are always locked, and no one from the town works there. Charlie seems a little... vacant... to me. Wonka, man, you sure you want this kid running your factory?

3. Wonka bars all over the WORLD and the only kids that find the golden tickets are white little snozzberries from Germany, England & America who all speak English. Even though the world's largest ethnic group is Han Chinese, and speaks Mandarin. Methinks this game is rigged.

4. Oompa Loompas: So... he pays them in chocolate? Do they have healthcare? Are they unionized? Is there not a single Oompa Loompa who's been working at the factory for however-many-years-now that might do a better job at running it than some rando child?

WW: I know I've only known you for half a day, vacant child, but I am going to make you a present of my life's work.

Charlie: Well, isn't there anyone else better suited to be CEO of the world's most famous confectionery company?

WW: Absolutely not! Oompa Loompas are only good for free labor.

Charlie: You mean they're slaves?

WW: No, I saved them, you know. I'm the hero. Anyway, that's beside the point! I'm saying, like, don't you want to be their master?

I know Dahl re-wrote the Oompa Loompas from the original African pygmies "from the very deepest and darkest part of the jungle where no white man had ever been before" to being white-skinned (not orange, like in the 1971 film), but it still reeks of Imperialism.

(In fact, there's some interesting stuff out there about the changing racial depictions of the Oompa Loompas from the original 1964 publication to the most recent 2005 film version.)

5. Stay with me here... This is my seven deadly sins theory:

Augustus Gloop - gluttony

Charlie Bucket - lust

Grandpa Joe - envy

Mike Teavee - sloth

Veruca Salt - greed

Violet Beauregarde - pride

Willy Wonka - wrath

And yes, of course after I wrote this I googled it, and I'm not the first to have come up with this idea. I still stand by it!

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