Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Summary and Analysis of Chapters 18-21


Mr. Wonka moves them along after the Oompa-Loompas' song, telling them that the next part of the journey will be by boat. A huge pink Viking-esque boat appears, with Oompa-Loompas rowing it. Wonka says he hollowed out an enormous boiled sweet to make it. Of course, Veruca begins to babble about wanting a boat like this, along with a chocolate river, and Grandpa Joe quietly criticizes her to Charlie. But Charlie is too caught up in the excitement of everything he is seeing to care much.

Wonka dips a mug into the chocolate river and gives both Charlie and Grandpa Joe a cup of warm chocolate to drink, saying that they look like they need it. The boat begins to speed down the chocolate river into a large dark tunnel. It is pitch black, and Violet asks how the Oompa-Loompas see where they are going—Wonka begins to laugh, and sings about how there is no knowing where they are going. The other parents shriek about how Wonka has gone crazy.

Wonka calls to have the lights switched on, and Charlie sees that they are inside a huge pipe. There are doors in the wall leading to different chocolate rooms. They stop at one called the Inventing Room, which Wonka calls the most important room in the factory. All his secret new inventions simmer in this room, and the other chocolate makers would do anything for just a few minutes inside. He strictly tells the children not to touch or taste anything.

Inside an enormous room that looks like a giant, bubbling kitchen, Wonka takes them to a machine that is dropping large green marble-sized candies out of it. He says they are Everlasting Gobstoppers, completely new. The gobstoppers can be sucked forever, and will never get any smaller. Violet says it is like gum, but Wonka reminds her that gum is for chewing, and chewing one of these would break your teeth.

Finally they make it over to another machine, and Wonka says he is incredibly proud of this invention. He presses a button on the side of the machine and it begins to whir and whiz. At last, out of the machine comes a little grey strip of something. They are confused for a moment, but Violet is the first to realize that this is a stick of chewing gum.

Wonka describes it as the most amazing chewing gum in the world. It is a chewing gum meal; the gum is a three-course dinner all by itself, and when you chew it, you can actually taste and feel the food going down your throat. He believes it will change the world, since a strip of this chewing gum is all anyone will need for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This particular piece is tomato soup, roast beef, and blueberry pie, but the gum can be almost any combination of food.

Violet is on board immediately, and demands Wonka give her the gum. He insists that he has not gotten the gum quite right yet, but she does not listen and grabs it anyway. The gum does exactly what he said it would: Violet exclaims as each new course makes its way across her tongue. The Beauregarde parents are very pleased and tell her to keep chewing, taken with the idea of their daughter being the first person ever to have a chewing gum meal.

Wonka continues to say that gum is not right yet and she should stop eating, but Violet still does not stop. As she reaches dessert, something strange begins to happen, and her entire face begins to turn blue as a blueberry. She begins to swell up like a blueberry, too, her entire body changing shape to resemble a balloon. Wonka despairs that it always ends up wrong like that, and he has tried it on twenty Oompa-Loompas who have all turned into blueberries too.

Mrs. Beauregarde demands he turn her daughter back to normal, and Wonka summons Oompa-Loompas to roll Violet to the Juicing Room to be squeezed. Once Violet and her parents are gone, the Oompa Loompas begun to sing again, this time about the dangers of chewing gum all day long. The song is a story about a lady named Miss Bigelow, who was a compulsive gum-chewer just like Violet, and even when she took her gum out at night her jaws were so accustomed to the chewing motion that one night they bit her tongue in two.


The events in this story and the language used to describe them portray the chocolate factory as its own, self-sustainable world. As such, Mr. Wonka is this world's ruler, with command over everything and the final say in how things are done. In many ways, Wonka is like a god within his factory. Just like a god, he makes the impossible happen with his fantastic inventions. There is even a Biblical reference when he calls for light within the chocolate river tunnel and light suddenly appears; this is a reference to God's command in the Bible's Book of Genesis.

But the novel subtly likens Wonka to something other than than a god. The strange behavior that prompts the parents to believe that Wonka is off his rocker is a reference to the commonly held conception that many of the world's truest geniuses and greatest minds seem crazy to those who do not understand them. Wonka may seem a little strange, but his genius when it comes to chocolate is undeniable, and in his field he is truly like the great inventors we learn about. Only Charlie and Grandpa Joe seem able to recognize this genius.

There is a stark difference in the way Wonka treats the other children versus the way he treats Charlie. Wonka often criticizes the other children, commenting on their rudeness, or else he eggs on their bad behavior. To Charlie, however, he is always warm and kind, such as when he offers Charlie and Grandpa Joe mugs of warm chocolate from the river. Wonka's treatment of Charlie further singles him out from the rest of the pack.

The chapters in the Inventing Room really bring out Violet's many vices. These stretch beyond compulsive gum-chewing: she also has a destructive desire to be first at everything, which is encouraged by her parents, when they cheer her on for being the first to have a chewing gum meal. She is also impatient, and this is precisely why a candy like a gobstopper is not designed for her. Her impatience would make her chew it, and Wonka reminds her that she cannot do that or she will break her jaw. She does not know how to slowly appreciate something, and the gobstopper is designed for children who can do just that.

Violet's punishment finally shows readers the significance of her name. She turns violet and blows up like a blueberry as a result of all her vices: her bad gum-chewing habit, her desire to be first at everything, and her impatience. The Oompa-Loompas' second song serves the same purpose as the first: to teach a lesson and be a voice of reason to both the children in the factory and the readers who might share undesirable characteristics with Violet.