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.
Young Charlie Bucket is very poor and lives in a small house with his parents and four grandparents. One day, Charlie’s Grandpa Joe tells him about the legendary and eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka and all the wonderful sweets and chocolates he made. However, the other chocolatiers sent in spies to steal his secret recipes, leading Wonka to close the factory to outsiders. The next day, the newspaper announces that Wonka is re-opening the factory and has invited five lucky children to come on a tour, if they find a Golden Ticket inside a Wonka Bar. The first four golden tickets are found by four unpleasant children: the gluttonous Augustus Gloop, the spoiled and petulant Veruca Salt, the chewing gum-addicted Violet Beauregarde, and the television-obsessed Mike Teavee.
One day, Charlie sees a 50 pence piece buried in the snow. He buys a Wonka Bar and miraculously finds the last golden ticket. The ticket says he can bring one or two family members with him and Charlie’s parents decide to allow Grandpa Joe to go with him.
On the day of the tour, Wonka takes the five children and their parents inside the factory, which is a wonderland of confectionery creations that defy logic. They also meet the Oompa-Loompas, a race of small people who help him operate the factory.
During the tour, the four “bad” children give in to their individual vices and are ejected from the tour in darkly comical ways. Augustus gets sucked up the pipe to the Fudge Room after drinking from the Chocolate River,
With only Charlie remaining in the end, Wonka congratulates him for “winning” the factory. Wonka explains that the whole tour was designed to help him secure a good person to serve as an heir to his business, and Charlie was the only child whose inherent goodness allowed him to pass the test. Wonka then invites Charlie’s family to come and live with him in the factory.