We all remember Roald Dahl‘s classic children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the whimsical tale of an entrepreneur passing on his life’s work as any eclectic genius might—to a random uneducated child, by means of an elaborate screening process rife with the risk of grievous bodily harm. (No, that’s not what it says on the back of the book.) Willy Wonka selects Charlie, a desperately poor yet kindhearted boy, to be his successor. Maybe Charlie is the clear pick—all one generally has to do in a children’s book to make it out okay is to be blandly good in the most general sense. But could Wonka, a man who runs his factory on unethical Oompa-Loompa labor, have chosen wrong? Look at this maniac.
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This viral post on this topic is so outrageously convincing, that I had to break it down.
Let’s take a look at what sins these dastardly children commit to get kicked out of the factory. Dahl presents Augustus Gloop as a seven-deadly-sins level glutton, cutting him out of the competition early. Gloop loses his shot at the title when he tries to drink from Wonka’s chocolate river, falling in and becoming lodged in a pipe. Wonka’s sweatshop labor then gathers around to sing a song about how this kid is wildly self-indulgent, not about how he’s a young child at risk of drowning and then being boiled. Mike Teevee watches too much television; laziness isn’t good for business. Fair. Veruca Salt is so spoiled she would never have gotten anything done, so spoiled that she didn’t even open the golden-ticket chocolate bar herself. Then we have Violet Beauregarde, who… chews too much gum?
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When Violet infamously pops a mouthful of experimental chewing gum that ends up turning her into a blueberry, even the Oompa Loompas have little to say:
Gum chewing’s fine when it’s once in awhile
It stops you from smoking and brightens your smile
But it’s repulsive, revolting, and wrong
Chewing and chewing all day long
…is it, though?
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It’s true that Violet specifically goes against Wonka’s wishes, as he specifically demands that she spit out the gum. But if breaking the rules is a good enough reason to throw Violet from the factory, why does Charlie get the goods? Let’s not forget that Charlie stole fizzy lifting drinks—a line Wonka actor Gene Wilder scared the hell out of us by yelling and an incontrovertible fact. Wonka is quick to point out that Oompa-Loompas had to waste valuable time by washing and sterilizing the walls and fan Charlie and Grandpa Joe rubbed their grubby hands all over. In comparison, Violet’s rebellion only impacted herself.
Let’s take it a step further—not only did Violet Beauregarde do nothing wrong, but she’s also the true heir to Wonka’s candy empire. Tumblr user evayna outlines Violet’s professional assets in this viral post summarized below. Let’s explore the credentials of our would-be female CEO:
1. Violet knows candy
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Why would supposedly excessive gum chewing be a bad thing at a candy company whose profits come partially from gum? Viewers don’t get a look at all of Wonka’s products, but we know at least two are somewhat gum-related: the actual gum and the Everlasting Gobstopper. When the latter is so significant that corporate spies are willing to bribe children to steal it, wouldn’t any businessman want the help of an expert?
2. Violet has business sense
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Violet’s father is a car salesman who’s pushy about representing his business—though the book and movie present this as an unsavory quality, his keen marketing sense leads him to use Violet’s fifteen minutes of fame in order to promote his car lot. With his example, Violet would be better equipped to make the strategic business decisions Wonka’s company needs.
3. Violet understands ethical labor
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Violet’s downfall occurs after she eats Wonka’s experimental gum, which he claims isn’t yet ready for human consumption. How does he know it’s not ready? Obviously, he’s been testing it on the Oompa Loompas. (It’s not really a stretch, given that he’s willing to let a kid burn to death in a trash chute just because she kind of sucks.) Given that the gum is obviously dangerous—it does basically turn Violet’s organs into Juicy Juice—it’s blatantly cruel to force your employees to eat it. Evayna writes: “Violet is ready to put herself on the front line, instead of treating the Oompa Loompas as disposable, and would therefore be a better boss.” Is it a stretch to assume that a child would be a better employer than an unpredictable sociopath with a penny whistle? In this case, probably not.
4. There’s nothing wrong with chewing gum, oh my god
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In addition to the points we already hit, Evayna adds:
She was able to switch [from gum] to candy bars for the sake of the contest… we already know she can stop if she wants. And yeah, she is defensive about the perceived impoliteness of her hobby, but the obsession with candy and neglect of social norms is EXACTLY what Wonka is all about. This is on brand.
5. Violet is brave while Charlie is passive and naive
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What does Charlie do that’s more virtuous than any of the other children? In the movie, we see him tenderly return the Gobstopper to Wonka although corporate spies have offered him money to take it off his hands. Violet, conversely, sells it like the bad business bitch she truly is. (Also, can we actually blame her for disrespecting Willy Wonka after he turned her into a smoothie?) Charlie’s character description tells readers he is “unassuming,” someone who “has every reason to complain [but] never does.” Does that make him a good person? Sure. Does that make him a proficient businessman? Uh… no.
Gif Via Imgur
So here’s the takeaway: Charlie Bucket definitely didn’t deserve his Dickensian latchkey childhood, but his suffering doesn’t make him Wonka’s best successor. Violet has the proverbial skills to pay the bills—and the only thing she did wrong was to try and prevent unethical product testing. Let’s just agree that nobody can consider Wonka’s common sense spot-on when he came up with this bizarre plot in the first place.
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