C&TCF Question #12: A more politically correct version?

by Roald Dahl

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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C&TCF Question #12: A more politically correct version?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Mar 13, 2005 2:59 am

This is an essay regarding the changes made to the book and the original Willy Wonka movie to satisfy critics and the public. It has been expressly forbidden to copy any of this essay. Thus the link below will take you on a tour of Charlie’s More Politically Correct Chocolate Factory. http://www.roalddahlfans.com/articles/char.php
This is a two part question:

a) “One frustration many critics shared is that Charlie is the hero because that is his role in the plot, "not because of any positive good of noble qualities, but because he is poor, quiet, and polite" (Merrick). A "phony representation of poverty" "is Charlie's sole character and being" (Cameron in Rees).”

Do you agree with this statement?

b) Do you think Burton will go the route that the original movie took to bring in a subplot that would make Charlie’s character more positive and noble, or do you thing he will stay true to the book?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
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es
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Unread postby es » Sun Mar 13, 2005 5:17 am

maybe my english is just to short to understand that pece but i dont understand lack of caracter.
charly s caracter is in my opinion well writen,he is a honoust boy who likes to share be polite and enjoys the little thinks in life.
i dont think the reason for those caracterthings is his poverty excally i would almost say despite of that.
how many poor kids arent greedy because of the fact they have so little always hoping for more,and will take anything when they see a chance.
charly does have a moment of selfisme when he finds the money he buys two candy bars for that money they could have bought something useful so his caracter isnt al goodness.
i always have difficulties with the racisme,i think we are a little to afraid to insult some culture.
and like is said the oompaloompas are free people with a choice so were is slavery in that?
i dont think there will be subplot in terms of another test for the kids,atleast i hope not.
last one the violence,i have no problem with that especially because they are ok in the end.
greets,
es

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Unread postby shame_about_rasins » Sun Mar 13, 2005 5:50 am

I think it is a fun wonderful children's book and should not be read into so much, it is meant to be fun, not taken seriously in such respects. But is always interesting to disscuss such matters, i love these disscussions!
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Question 12 A more politically correct version

Unread postby gilly » Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:05 am

I knew that there were different versions to the story and I believe R Dahl did bow to pressure from his editors to make changes.He had a very strained relationship with his editors at times.I am confident that Tim and Johnny's film will not be a sanitised one.I can't see them bringing in a Charlie subplot to make him more noble,although they are introducing the dentist/father/teeth subplot for WW which will show 'maturation' and probably help the audience identify with WW more[Not that Johnny fans need any help there]There are many arguments in this essay ,I just don't follow,like you es.I don't understand how they can say Charlie has a lack of character-I think his noble,sharing,caring,loving ,giving nature shines like a beacon.

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Re: Question 12 A more politically correct version

Unread postby shame_about_rasins » Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:23 am

gilly wrote:I knew that there were different versions to the story and I believe R Dahl did bow to pressure from his editors to make changes.He had a very strained relationship with his editors at times.I am confident that Tim and Johnny's film will not be a sanitised one.I can't see them bringing in a Charlie subplot to make him more noble,although they are introducing the dentist/father/teeth subplot for WW which will show 'maturation' and probably help the audience identify with WW more[Not that Johnny fans need any help there]There are many arguments in this essay ,I just don't follow,like you es.I don't understand how they can say Charlie has a lack of character-I think his noble,sharing,caring,loving ,giving nature shines like a beacon.

I did not know there were two versions, i will have ot hunt down my copy and see, i have not read it for ages. I am very confident that whatever Tim comes up with will be wonderful and his creative genius will not be comprimised! I doubt that it will be exactly like the book, it is very rare that that happens, but i am sure it will be closer to the book than the Gene Wilder version!
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Mar 13, 2005 11:41 am

from the essay: Still, Charlie has no tremendously positive traits, only an absence of negative ones.


gilly wrote: I just don't follow,like you es.I don't understand how they can say Charlie has a lack of character-I think his noble,sharing,caring,loving ,giving nature shines like a beacon.


I agree with both of you and I would add innocence to the list. I am not sure why the author feels Charlie has no positive traits.

The discussion of the Oompa-Loompas reminds me of our discussion of Peter Pan. When the play first opened in the United States audiences saw it as allegorical in regards to Native Americans. It seems cultural views of literature will be shaped by the societal views at the time they are popular regardless of the intentions of the author.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby suec » Sun Mar 13, 2005 1:06 pm

I agree with the points made so far. I am puzzled by the comment about having no noble qualities. He does have fine personal qualities as others have said, such as loving his family - and the way he deals with his poverty - that is, uncomplaining. He just gets on with it and doesn't burden his parents by whinging. And he makes the most of what he does get, appreciating that treats have to last him a long time. There's a lot of truth in that and in that sense, I don't find the poverty phoney. There are children who would and do behave like him. What is good is that he makes the thing happen, when he finds the money and spends it. He isn't entirely passive and reactive. Again, I think that is quite believable. I think if he'd spent it all, he would be much less likeable. I'm glad the bit about him stealing isn't in the book - for the same reason. We need a balance against the selfishness and monstrosity of the other children. So no, I don't agree that "a phoney representation of poverty is his sole character and being". I think he is a representation of a well brought-up child.
I don't know what TB will do with him, but I guess that if he is fleshing out WW's character, he will put a bit of meat on the bone with Charlie as well. I hope he doesn't feel that it is necessary to make him more ambiguous in his morals to satisfy the audience, although I can imagine there being an extra test to build the tension more. I was thinking that he isn't really tested in the factory, but I think his test comes earlier, and that he passes it when he gives some of the money to his parents. WW treats him differently from the start although it is very easy for him to see at a glance what the children are like.
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Unread postby scarlett » Sun Mar 13, 2005 1:28 pm

I agree with everyone's assessment of Charlie. He is a fine, noble boy who sacrifices along with the rest of his family and makes the best of his circumstances. I don't understand the criticism that he has no character other than being poor.

As for the Oompa-Loompahs, when I read the story, I assumed they were fantasy creatures (not human at all) created by Dahl so he could let "bad" things happen to them and still preserve the humor in the situation. For example, Willy's "oh well" telling of the Oompa-Loompah who floated away never to be seen again. If they were originally African pygmies, then, I suppose I can see the racism criticism, although I agree with the sentiment that this is a kid's book and people shouldn't take it too seriously.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Mar 13, 2005 2:05 pm

from the essay: The Oompa-Loompas are small, not simply because they are pygmies or dwarves, but because they are allegorical to children.


Allegorical perhaps but also because chilren would relate to them and imagine them in their place running the factory because of their size?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby nebraska » Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:55 pm

Oh, my goodness, you shouldn't even get me started on this!!!! :censored:

I agree, Charlie is a wonderful child with many good qualities -- in today's world a polite child is a rarity and certainly is to be admired and praised. Beyond politeness, Charlie is honest, hard-working, generous, and kind. What is not to find heroic about him? We should all aspire to be so good!

On the subject of political correctness...... :banghead: When things are divided so many ways to be correct for every single group and every single individual, with every belief and every ethnic background, and every possible history and personal woe, and every etc ..... the pot gets spread so thin and is so diluted that there is nothing left for anyone. The well-being of the majority has ceased to be of any concern, any single individual with an axe to grind is allowed to destroy the happiness of everyone else. In my little town, one individual has sued to have a ten commandments stone removed from a park. It is a public park, and the hundreds of people who want the stone there in their park have no rights because one individual objects to it.

The whole PC subject makes me crazy. Our founding fathers (in the US) are no doubt rolling in their graves at the way their intentions have been twisted and distorted by the lawyers of today's system. The spirit of the law is no longer of any concern -- any question can be lawyered to death and the judges rewrite laws on a daily basis -- debating all possible meanings of the letter of the law.

This is not to say I am unhappy with women and people of color receiving more respect and some of the inequities having been ended. But there is a difference between a group of people getting their due and an individual ruining something for the majority.

The OompaLoompas were happy; Willy Wonka had saved them from danger and certain death. What did the Oompa-Loompas want that they were not getting? Should we throw them out in the cold so they can die "free" whether they want to be there or not, in the name of political correctness?

One of the saddest things I have ever seen is the demise of Little Black Sambo, a resourceful courageous and very smart hero of my childhood. I loved and admired the character in one of my favorite children's storeis and now he is silenced. An unfortunate victim of PC.

There is no way for me to even express my disgust...... :soapbox: so I better get off my box and go quietly to my corner. I hope it is true that there are no wrong answers. :blush:

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Unread postby Liz » Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:46 am

nebraska wrote:I hope it is true that there are no wrong answers. :blush:


'Tis true, Nebraska.

I was shocked when I read this essay. I had no idea that the story had been altered in order to be politically correct. And I just don't get how Charlie cannot be considered a noble character. He offered to share his candy bar with his grandparents, for pete's sake.
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Question 12 A more politically correct version?

Unread postby gilly » Tue Mar 15, 2005 8:14 pm

I'm with you guys.I hate political correctness.If someone says to me you can't do that or write that ,it's not politically correct,I tend to go to more extremes. :capnjack: To me it's a form of censorship.I think Johnny feels the same.Many of his writer friends,Hunter Thompson,Stahl and Tosches are not the least politically correct.I think Dahl was not happy,to put it mildly,that he had to make changesJohnny believes in the truth,I think,warts and all. :cool:


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