Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 children's book 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
by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in 1964
and in the United States by George Allen & Unwin in
1967. The book was 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 1972. Dahl had also planned to write a third book in the series but never
finished it. United Kingdom
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.
The story revolves around a poor young boy named Charlie Bucket born to a penniless, starving family. He resides with both his paternal and maternal grandparents who are bedridden. Along with Charlie's mother and father, they dwell in a dilapidated, tiny house. Charlie is fascinated by the universally-celebrated chocolate factory located in his hometown owned by famous chocolatier Willy Wonka. His Grandpa Joe often narrates stories to him about the chocolate factory and about its mysterious proprietor, and the mysteries relating to the factory itself; how it had gone defunct for years until it mysteriously re-opened after Wonka's secret sweet recipes had been discovered (albeit no employees are ever seen leaving the factory).
Soon after, an article in the newspaper reveals that Willy Wonka has hidden a Golden Ticket in five chocolate bars being distributed to anonymous locations worldwide, and that the discovery of a Golden Ticket would grant the owner with passage into Willy Wonka's factory and a lifetime supply of confectionery. Charlie longs for chocolate to satisfy his hunger and to find a Golden Ticket himself, but his chances are slim (his father has recently lost his job, leaving the family all but destitute) and word on the discovery of the tickets keeps appearing in various news articles read by the Bucket family, each one going to self-centred, bratty children: an obese, gluttonous boy named Augustus Gloop, a spoiled brat named Veruca Salt, a record-breaking gum chewer named Violet Beauregarde, and Mike Teavee, an aspiring gangster who is unhealthily obsessed with television. Eventually, Charlie finds a ticket of his own.
The children, once at the factory, are taken to the Chocolate Room, where they are introduced to Oompa Loompas, from Loompaland, who have been helping Wonka operate the factory. While there, Augustus falls into the chocolate and is sucked up by a pipe and eliminated from the tour. They are soon taken to the Inventing Room, where Violet chews a piece of experimental gum, and blows up into a blueberry; she is the second child rejected from the tour. After an exhausting jog down a series of corridors, Wonka allows them to rest outside of the Nut Room, but refuses them entry. Veruca, seeing squirrels inside, demands one from Wonka, but when she is refused, she invades the Nut Room, where the squirrels attack her, judge her a bad nut and throw her down the garbage chute. Likewise with her parents, who go in to rescue her. They go on the Great Glass Elevator to the Television Room, where Mike accidentally shrinks himself to a few inches tall using a teleporter Wonka invented, and is the last to be eliminated from the tour.
Charlie, being the last child left, wins the prize - the factory itself. Wonka had distributed the Golden Tickets to find an heir, and Charlie was the only one who passed the test. Together they go to Charlie's house in the glass elevator and take the whole family back to the chocolate factory to live out the rest of their lives.