A boy named Augustus Gloop finds the first Golden Ticket the very next day. The paper prints a huge picture of him on the front page. Augustus is only nine, but he’s so fat that he looks like he’s been inflated. His small, “greedy” eyes peer out from a “doughy” face. In Augustus’s hometown, he’s being called a hero, and kids there get the day off of school. In the family’s interview with the paper, Mrs. Gloop says she just knew Augustus would find a Golden Ticket, since he eats so many candy bars per day. Eating is his hobby, which is better than being a “hooligan.” And clearly, she says, Augustus needs the nourishment, and candy is a good source of vitamins.
The way that the narrator describes Augustus introduces his vice: greed. Specifically, he’s greedy about food—sweets in particular. Mrs. Gloop’s interview with the paper confirms what Grandpa George suggested in the previous chapter: that wealthy people who can afford to buy a lot of candy will have a better chance of finding a Golden Ticket. She also notably takes no issue with Augustus’s greed and even suggests that she doesn’t see his greed for what it is. Mrs. Gloop gives the absurd and rather humorous excuse that Augustus consumes candy as a source of vitamins—likely because she doesn’t want to acknowledge that she spoils her son by allowing him to eat so many sweets. Further, the novel links Augustus’s greed to his weight (as indicated by the way his “greedy” eyes are associated with his “doughy” face)—which exposes some underlying prejudice against overweight people.
After Mr. Bucket reads the interview out loud, Grandma Josephine and Georgina scoff that Augustus and Mrs. Gloop are “revolting” and “repulsive.” Grandpa George wonders who will get the remaining four tickets. Suddenly, the whole world seems caught up in trying to find the final tickets. People buy dozens of candy bars at a time and in one city, a gangster robs a bank and uses the money to buy candy bars. A Russian woman finds a fake ticket, while an English scientist invents a machine that can scan candy bars and detect the Golden Ticket. But as the scientist demonstrates his machine, the machine grabs for a duchess’s gold filling and causes a scene.
Charlie and his family members represent the moral high ground in this novel—so readers are meant to take Charlie’s grandmothers at their word that Augustus and his mother are “revolting” and “repulsive.” Describing them in this way invites readers to compare Augustus and Charlie. Charlie, the novel implies, is a better person than Augustus because he can restrain himself—after all, he can make his once-a-year birthday candy bar last a whole month.
On the day before Charlie’s birthday, a small girl named Veruca Salt finds the second Golden Ticket. Her family lives in a big city far away, and her parents are extremely wealthy. Mr. Bucket brings home the paper that night. On the front page is a picture of Veruca, sitting between her mother and father. Mr. Salt, her father, told the paper exactly how he found the ticket: he’s in the peanut business and so, for three days, he had the women who work in his factory shelling peanuts unwrap candy bars instead. Veruca was beside herself and screamed for a Golden Ticket. Mr. Salt hated seeing her like that, and on the fourth day, one of his workers found a Golden Ticket. Now, Veruca is happy again.
Veruca’s vice isn’t shared with the reader as overtly as Augustus’s was (recall that the narrator described Augustus’s eyes as “greedy”), but this passage nevertheless makes it clear that Veruca is extremely spoiled. And like Augustus, her wealthy family was able to pull strings and increase the chances that Veruca would find a Golden Ticket. Mr. Salt also demonstrates that he’s willing to give Veruca everything she wants, no matter the cost or the imposition.
Grandma Josephine insists that Veruca is even worse than Augustus, and Grandma Georgina suggests that Veruca could benefit from being spanked. To Grandpa Joe, Charlie murmurs that Mr. Salt didn’t get the ticket fairly. Grandpa Joe says that Mr. Salt spoils Veruca, and it never ends well to spoil a child. Then, Mrs. Bucket tells Charlie it’s time for bed—in the morning, he’ll want to get up early to open his birthday Wonka candy bar. Grandpa Joe suggests that Charlie open his bar in front of them all in the morning, in case there’s a Golden Ticket inside.
Suggesting that Veruca should be spanked indicates that in Grandma Georgina’s opinion, parents should step in and discipline their children for any bad behavior—and she sees Veruca’s spoiled behavior as worthy of punishment. This starts to suggest that spoiled children aren’t the ones at fault; their parents are to blame for not correcting them. Charlie reinforces this when he suggests that Mr. Salt, rather than Veruca, behaved unethically. Veruca may be spoiled, but her behavior pales next to her father’s.