Mr. Wonka is a small man with bright, twinkling eyes and a pointed black goatee. He wears a black top hat and a plum-colored velvet tailcoat with green trousers and gray gloves. He moves quickly and is full of life, carrying a gold-topped walking cane with him. He welcomes the children and has them come forward one at a time for introductions; he warmly greets each one of them and their parents.
He leads them inside a red door and they stand inside a long corridor. It smells wonderful, of all sorts of different sweets mixed together. They hang up their coats and follow Mr. Wonka down the passage, rushing to keep up. They make many turns, and realize that this place is like a maze; Grandpa Joe tells Charlie not to let go of his hand. Wonka points out that the passage is sloping downwards, because all the most important rooms in the factory are deep down below the surface. There simply is not enough space for these enormous rooms aboveground.
At last they reach a door marked "The Chocolate Room." Wonka calls it the nerve center of the factory, and exclaims over its beauty; once they enter the rest of the group cannot help but agree. The room is a gorgeous green valley with a great chocolate river flowing through it. Most impressive is the steep cliff over which a chocolate waterfall flows, churning the chocolate in the river. Pipes hang down from the ceiling to suck up the chocolate and bring it to other places in the factory.
Wonka says that no other factory in the world mixes their chocolate by waterfall, and that is what makes his so delicious. He tells them that everything in the room is edible, and everyone bends down to eat blades of the edible grass. Augustus takes a big handful, and Violet removes her gum and sticks it behind her ear so she can eat the grass instead.
Suddenly Veruca screams and points out a group of tiny little men walking below the waterfall. Wonka explains that they are Oompa-Loompas imported direct from Loompaland to work in his factory. In Loompaland the Oompa-Loompas lived in fear of the terrible beasts that roamed nearby, and they were practically starving to death living only on revolting caterpillars. Their favorite food is cacao beans, but they could never get any—luckily, though, since cacao beans are what chocolate is made from, Wonka offered to let all the Oompa-Loompas live in his factory and eat all the cacao beans they want in exchange for working for him.
Typical Veruca begins to beg her father to buy her an Oompa-Loompa, but the group is distracted when Augustus sneaks down to the edge of the river and begins to scoop melted chocolate into his mouth. Wonka begs him to stop dirtying his chocolate and Mrs. Gloop tries to get him to, but he refuses. He leans too far out and suddenly he falls into the chocolate river. Mrs. Gloop goes crazy, yelling that he cannot swim. Mr. Gloop gets ready to go in after him, but Augustus is sucked up one of the giant chocolate pipes.
The pipe, however, is not big enough for a boy of his size, and he blocks it up. The chocolate begins to build up below him until the pressure becomes too much and finally, like a rocket, he goes shooting upward. Wonka says he is heading straight for the room where he makes strawberry-flavored chocolate-coated fudge, and Mrs. Gloop despairs that her son will be made into fudge. Wonka says he would never allow that, since no one would buy Augustus-flavored chocolate-coated Gloop.
Wonka summons an Oompa-Loompa to take the Gloops up to the fudge room to find their son. When they disappear, all the Oompa-Loompas break out into a song, chanting about the perils of being a glutton like Augustus and greedily eating nonstop. They say that Augustus Gloop will not be harmed from this ordeal; however, he will be changed quite a bit.
By this point, readers—and the children themselves, of course—have had time to form their own opinions and preconceptions about Willy Wonka, since up until now he has been a mystery. This heightens the anticipation and makes it even more exciting when Wonka finally reveals himself at precisely ten o'clock to welcome the children into his factory. He appears to be everything Charlie imagined him to be: bright, cheerful, quick, and warm.
In many ways, Mr. Wonka and his factory are mirror images of each other. Both were completely mysterious; no one knew anything about them before this, but they were both widely talked about. As Charlie gets to know Mr. Wonka and ventures into the factory for the first time, more similarities become clear. Just like Wonka, the factory is bright and colorful. Everything moves with quickness and purpose within the factory, just like Wonka himself. Just like Wonka himself, the factory is a little unconventional.
Wonka has evidently poured his heart and soul into the factory, as the factory is a reflection of him; this connection will become important later in the story. In many ways the factory even seems like a living, breathing being, which is emphasized when Wonka calls the chocolate room the "nerve center" of the factory, as if it is like the factory's brain, controlling everything else that goes on inside of it.
Mr. Wonka certainly says some peculiar things, and many of these foreshadow what is to come later on. Most notably is the line "I shouldn't like to lose any of you at this stage in the proceedings!" (77). He says this just as the group is entering the factory, which foreshadows that he will, eventually, lose most of the children, as we begin to see with Augustus in chapter 17. The way Wonka says this makes it clear that he is actually planning to lose them; he has more in mind for this factory visit than meets the eye, and readers will have to wait to see how his plot plays out.
A major theme in this book is the idea that things are not always as they seem; another is the notion that nothing is truly impossible if you dream it. Wonka's factory is a wonderful representation of this theme; from the outside, an onlooker might believe that the factory is just average. In reality, though, it extends far beneath the surface with rooms upon rooms of incredible creations. Wonka's inventions defy explanation, and with each new type of candy, imagination has truly come to life. There is a certain inspirational magic in this factory and the things Mr. Wonka can create.
At the end of Chapter 17, the first child, Augustus, receives punishment for his greed and basically fails the test that Wonka has put in place. Augustus has been weeded out of the pack, and it is a clear lesson to readers to not become like Augustus. The Oompa-Loompas serve a similar role to a conscience: they very clearly put into song the lesson that Augustus's punishment is meant to teach us.