Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Roald Dahl

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory makes teaching easy.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

The top half of the door to the room of square candies that look round is made of glass. Inside, Charlie can see a long table with white square candies on it. They all have little faces on them, and Oompa-Loompas sit at one end painting the faces. Mike Teavee says that the candies don’t look round, and Veruca agrees that they’re square. Mr. Wonka insists he never said they were round; they only look round. Mrs. Salt tells Veruca that Mr. Wonka is lying, and Mr. Wonka tells the woman to go “boil [her] head.” Then, he tells the group to watch. He flings open the door and all the little candies “look round” to see who came in. Grandpa Joe remarks that Mr. Wonka is right: they’re square candies that look round.
The majority of the people in the tour don’t seem to find Mr. Wonka’s wordplay amusing, which continues to link a person’s enjoyment of something to how much or how little they try to make it make sense. Grandpa Joe is willing to laugh and enjoy the joke—but the others expected something different, and there’s no indication that they find these candies amusing once they’re in on the joke. In this sense, their way of looking at the world diminishes their enjoyment of the tour.
Fun, Absurdity, and Wonder Theme Icon
Mr. Wonka heads down the corridor past a room labeled with Butterscotch and Buttergin. Mr. Wonka says these things make the Oompa-Loompas “tiddly.” The group can hear laughter and singing from within. Mr. Wonka says that the Oompa Loompas enjoy butterscotch and soda, as well as buttergin and tonic. Mr. Salt expresses his approval. Then, he leads the group to a staircase and slides down the banister. Charlie, Veruca, and Mike are right behind him. The adults—particularly Mrs. Salt, who’s very fat—struggle to keep up.
The Butterscotch and Buttergin jokes are far more adult (they’re a play on alcoholic drinks, like scotch and water and gin and tonics), so they go over better with Mr. Salt. As Mr. Wonka leads the group down the stairs, the novel shows that this world prioritizes thin people. Mr. Wonka doesn’t accommodate Mrs. Salt, who is presumably the only overweight person in the group, and readers are seemingly meant to find this funny rather than cruel. In this way, Mr. Wonka (and the novel as a whole) implicitly condemn overweight people.
Parenting Theme Icon
Fun, Absurdity, and Wonder Theme Icon
Prejudice and Bigotry Theme Icon