The gates open to reveal Mr. Wonka, standing just inside the factory. He’s “extraordinary”: he’s a small man who carries and gold walking cane and wears a black top hat, a plum tailcoat, and green trousers. His eyes sparkle, and his head makes jerking movements that make him seem full of life. He does a little dance to the gate and welcomes the children to his factory in a high voice. He invites the children to come up one by one.
Mr. Wonka’s bright, colorful clothing adds to the sense that he’s a fun, absurd figure. He’s also notably described as being small, just like Charlie—and this is something the novel associates with goodness and virtue. In addition, his gold walking cane indicates how wealthy he is, just as the Golden Tickets represent wealth and power.
Augustus steps up to introduce himself first. Mr. Wonka pumps Augustus’s hand up and down, greets his parents, and ushers Augustus in. Veruca steps up next. Mr. Wonka again shakes her hand, but he comments that Veruca’s name is odd—he thought a “veruca” was a wart. He greets Violet and Mike in the same fashion, and then Charlie steps forward and whispers his name to Mr. Wonka. Mr. Wonka greets Charlie happily, congratulates him on finding his ticket just in time, and then asks everyone to follow him into the factory. He warns them to stay close—he doesn’t want to lose anyone this early.
Mr. Wonka is subtly needling Veruca—a verruca is indeed a type of wart, and pointing this out perhaps implies that Veruca is an unpleasant person, much like a wart is an unpleasant ailment. Whereas the other kids confidently introduce themselves to Mr. Wonka with confidence, Charlie only whispers his name, which hints that he doesn’t have the sense of self-importance that the others do. Meanwhile, Mr. Wonka says that he doesn’t want to lose anyone this early on the tour, which ominously foreshadows that he is going to lose kids throughout the tour—and it’s possible that he planned for this to happen.
Charlie looks back and watches the huge iron gates close. Mr. Wonka skips ahead, leading the group to a big red door. He explains that it’s nice and warm inside; his workers are used to a very hot climate and would die in the cold weather they’re currently having. When Augustus asks about the workers, Mr. Wonka tells him to be patient. Once they’re all inside, Charlie looks around. He’s in a long corridor that seems to stretch on forever, and it’s wide enough to drive a car through.
The huge, iron gates swinging closed, as well as the seemingly infinite corridor, are ominous, as both subtly hint that the people on the tour are somehow trapped in the factory. However, the factory’s warmth and spaciousness also contrast with Charlie and Grandpa Joe’s cold, cramped house, perhaps suggesting that the factory will become a sort of safe haven for them. Meanwhile, telling Augustus to be patient suggests that Mr. Wonka isn’t interested in letting the kids ask questions and shape their own experience; Mr. Wonka wants to craft an experience for them without their input.
Charlie remarks that the corridor is nice and warm, and Grandpa Joe agrees. It also smells delightfully of coffee, sugar, mint, violets, and apple blossoms. In the distance, Charlie can hear what sounds like a massive machine. Mr. Wonka says that this is the corridor and shows the children where to hang their coats. Then he hurries down the hallway. The group follows behind him, pushing and shoving one another as they try to keep up. Then, Mr. Wonka turns into a side passage that’s a bit narrower—and then keeps turning into narrow passages. He shouts behind him that they all slope down because most of the factory is underground—there’s not enough space for everything above ground. After more turns, Mr. Wonka stops in front of the chocolate room.
The factory is very different from Charlie’s home in that it’s so warm and comparatively luxurious. Charlie and Grandpa Joe also seem to look at the factory with wonder and delight as they smell these wonderful smells. The revelation that most of the factory is perhaps unexpected and somewhat unusual—in this way, it encourages the kids to keep an open mind, as there will likely be more unexpected things around every turn. Meanwhile, the other kids’ pushing and shoving once again makes Charlie look virtuous and polite by comparison.