An Analysis of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

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In order for ideas and realizations to become apparent, it can be helpful to examine them over time by rereading childhood books. Some of the most complex and confusing concepts take years to fully understand. My understanding of Roald Dahl’s Charlie & The Chocolate Factory has evolved since my initial childhood reading as a result of more exposure to an outside world full of stereotypes and prejudice.

The first stereotype encountered in the book is that of Charlie Bucket, the protagonist. He is introduced as a small, kind, polite boy from a poor family with a craving for chocolate. Throughout the book, he deals with ridicule and torment, struggling day after day. With quiet determination, Charlie continues to persevere, exemplifying the stereotype of poverty.

Undoubtedly, this stereotype is represented in real life by millions of individuals. What young readers may not realize is that real-world people with lives similar to Charlie’s can be benevolent “heroes.” These people can be children with limited opportunities or people who are homeless, unemployed, or working at a job that pays just enough to get by. In our society, they are often treated and judged unfairly. An ordinary passerby commits the fundamental attribution error, overestimating a person’s traits while remaining ignorant of their circumstances. If they were to understand the strife a homeless person endures, their perception would change to sympathize with the driven protagonist. It’s obvious that Charlie is the protagonist, while it takes a leap in understanding and an open mind to view a troubled someone in the real life as a hero. As a very young reader, I saw Charlie to be the prevailing hero at the end of the book. Now, looking back at my previous view, I feel ignorant for not seeing the reality of Charlie’s circumstances. This book revealed a change in my personal judgments. Recognizing the impact of childhood books on adult opinions, it is crucial to evaluate situations free from prejudice.

A relatable experience occurred six years ago when a close relative of mine adopted a foster child from the inner city of Chicago. My first perception of Katrina, ten years old at the time, was a despondent poor child who had terrible parents that abandoned her. Fortunately, this didn’t prove to be the case. Katrina was a confident sweet girl who had a very ill mother. Although Katrina dealt with hardships, she remained cheerful and optimistic. Katrina’s perseverance and strong will illustrated my bias. She made me realize that the basis of stereotypes is fictional and never truly exemplifies reality. In the book, Charlie’s stereotypical role of a poor child was deceptive. Although it is difficult for a child, it is necessary to discern between fiction and reality, otherwise effects of stereotypes and prejudice can occur.
In retrospect, there are considerable advantages in rereading a childhood book. Charlie & The Chocolate Factory was entertaining and enjoyable to reread because it gave me a new understanding of understanding. The character of Charlie impacted my perceptions of others by illustrating the importance of consideration, acceptance and having an open mind. I’ve found that a child’s grasp on authors’ perspectives can deeply influence their views of others. As a child, reading about these wacky characters was purely amusing. It never occurred to me that on a subtle level, these characters influenced my opinions of other people.





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