Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Literary Elements


Children's Fantasy

Setting and Context

A large town containing a massive chocolate factory, set in the 1960s.

Narrator and Point of View

The book is narrated in third-person, though it only ever enters the mind of Charlie Bucket. This is called 'third-person limited' narration. It follows his observations as he tours the chocolate factory.

Tone and Mood

Much of the story contains a tone and mood of pure excitement, as Charlie finds the Golden Ticket and tours the chocolate factory, an incredible place he believed he would never see. However, as each of the other children is eliminated, the tone switches to one of teaching and instruction, as the Oompa-Loompas sing important lessons to the readers and observers.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Charlie Bucket, a young, poor boy with strong values and morals, is the protagonist. The primary antagonists are the other four children, Augustus, Violet, Veruca, and Mike, who all possess a characteristic vice.

Major Conflict

The conflict in the first half of the book deals with finding the Golden Ticket. The Bucket family's poverty makes it seem impossible for Charlie to get what he wants more than anything -- a Golden Ticket. After the children enter the factory, the conflict centers on which child will receive Wonka's ultimate prize, ownership of his factory.


The climax of the novel comes when Mike is eliminated and Charlie is the last child remaining, thus winning Wonka's prize and becoming the new owner of the factory.


The grandparents' pessimistic comments about the impossibility of Charlie finding a Golden Ticket foreshadow him actually beating the odds and finding one. The foreshadowing continues throughout the tour of the factory, as Wonka hints at his true intentions in holding this contest. He constantly says things like "I shouldn't like to lose any of you at this[emph.] stage of the proceedings" (77), which foreshadow the end of the story, in which he does lose four out of five of the children.


The parents of the four naughty children constantly understate the severity of their children's behavior, making it clear how negligent they really are. For example, when speaking about how much her child eats, Mrs. Gloop insists that "it's all vitamins, anyway!"




Imagery is discussed in its separate section of this study guide.





Metonymy and Synecdoche



Some of Wonka's creations are personified to a high degree, notably the square candies that look round. Rather than just being described with humanlike qualities, these candies are actually given humanlike qualities, when the Oompa-Loompas paint faces on them and they are able to turn to look at people who come in the door. The squirrels are described in much the same way, working to shell walnuts as if they were humans, and reacting to Veruca's intrusion as if they had a humanlike awareness of what is going on.