Charlie and the Inclusive Chocolate Factory

June 11, 2009

Even after four decades Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”remains incredibly popular. However, its moral universe is drastically at odds with those of our schools. this has now been rectified, and below, I present a new, updated end for the book:


“Which room shall it be next?” said Mr Wonka as he turned away and darted into the lift. “Come on! Hurry up! We must get going! And how many children are there left now?”

Little Charlie looked at Grandpa Joe, and Grandpa Joe looked back at little Charlie.

“But Mr Wonka,” Grandpa Joe called after him, “there’s only Charlie left now.”

Mr Wonka swung round and stared at Charlie.

There was a silence. Charlie stood there holding tightly on to Grandpa Joe’s hand.

“You mean you’re the only one left?” Mr Wonka said, pretending to be surprised.

“Why, yes,” whispered Charlie. “Yes.”

Mr Wonka suddenly exploded with excitement “But my dear boy,” he cried out, “that means you’ve lost!

“I don’t understand.” said Charlie.

“Of course you don’t!” said Mr Wonka, excitedly. “Listen. I’m an old man. I’m much older than you think. I wanted my legacy to be that I’d give away my factory to badly behaved children in order to help them with their special needs. However, unlike the other four children you don’t seem to have any problems at all, so you’re not getting anything.”

“B-b-but…” stammered Grandpa Joe, “what problems did those awful children have?”

“Oh dear, oh dear,” said Mr Wonka, “we won’t have any of that labelling here. Listen and I will explain. Mike Teavee may have seemed disinterested in other human beings and to have an unhealthy interest in guns and violence. However, this really only indicates a short attention span and hyperactivity. The poor boy is ill with ADHD and unrestricted access to a chocolate factory can only help him with his affliction.”

“I don’t believe I’m hearing this”, said Grandpa Joe.

“As for Violet Beauregarde, her continual chewing of gum was clearly a form of obsessive behaviour. That, and her lack of social awareness about what to do with discarded gum, strikes me as clear evidence that she is somewhere on the autistic spectrum.”

“For pity’s sake” whispered Charlie.

“I suppose you’ll be telling us that Veruca Salt has a special need next.” said Grandpa Joe. “All that spoilt girl needed was a good slap.”

“How dare you?” cried Mr Wonka. “Anybody who slaps a child is worse than Hitler! You should have noticed that poor Veruca was suffering from a terrible anger management problem.”

“What about Augustus Gloop?” asked Charlie. “He was greedy and fat. How does that make him deserve a chocolate factory?”

“Ah-ha!” cried Mr Wonka, “That dear child was clearly suffering from poor self-esteem. I hate to think what torment he was going through.”

“This is ridiculous” said Grandpa Joe. “None of those children had real problems. Charlie, on the other hand, has been sleeping on the floor his entire life, and has been eating nothing but bread and cabbage for six months. He’s starving. Isn’t that a real hardship you could help with?”

“Don’t be silly” said Mr Wonka. “Charlie may look like a skeleton but he has been polite and well-behaved throughout this trip. He clearly can’t have any real problems. Now, off you go! I have to take the other, more troubled children to the Great Glass Student Support Department where a thousand Oompa-Loompas will help them with their needs by catering to their every whim.”

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  1. Brilliant.

    Large chunks of this site should be mandatory for teacher training.

  2. You know, if it wasn’t so bloody accurate, I’d be laughing my head off. :-)

    But this -

    Charlie, on the other hand, has been sleeping on the floor his entire life, and has been eating nothing but bread and cabbage for six months. He’s starving.

    - reminded me of the fact that there are kids in school who are dealing with really awful things in their lives, but don’t feel the need to disrupt lessons and be rude. I have one girl in a class at the moment who has serious problems at home, yet she’s never late, always has a pen and whatever else she needs, is polite, helpful and tries her very best.

    At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, kids these days really don’t know how lucky they are…

    • The grimmest part of the book is the Chapter “The Family Begins to Starve”. It describes Charlie’s behaviour at school while starving:

      “And now, very calmly, with that curious wisdom that seems to come so often to small children in times of hardship, he began to make little changes here and there in some of the things that he did, so as to save his strength. In the mornings, he left the house ten minutes earlier so that he could walk slowly to school, without ever having to run. He sat quietly in the classroom during break, resting himself, while the others rushed outdoors and threw snowballs and wrestled in the snow. Everything he did now, he did slowly and carefully, to prevent exhaustion.”

      I mention this because I have encountered people, including teachers, convinced that hunger causes disruptive behaviour. Now I know this isn’t the case (I have friends who have taught in the developing world) but I can’t help noticing that what is basically a fairy story is actually more accurate than some of those who seek to advise teachers.

  3. So true. Sad but true! Why don’t policy makers read this?
    Or if they DO read it, why aren’t they paying attention?

  4. [...] Oldandrew from Scenes from the Battleground shares Charlie and the Inclusive Chocolate Factory. [...]

  5. You’ll be in favour of the SEAL objectives, then.

    Is it your contention that things like ADHD don’t exist, or that they are over-diagnosed, or that our response to them is inappropriate?

    • No, no, no and kind of.

  6. in a school with good discpline and effective systems, a limited amount of inclusion is effective and desirable.

    in a poorly run school, inclusion, almost on any level is fiendishly unkind on these most vunerable of students.

    EBD schools should be set up immediately. 6 expulsions in a students entire career should mean expulsion.

    2 expulsions shouild mean EBD/borstal or similar

    Studnrts with significant SEN or medical conditions should have seperate provision regardles of how angry their parents are.

    LEAs should not be able to overide the opinion of SENCO’s or headteachers who are best placed to decide if their school can accomodate individual students.

  7. This caught my eye after enjoying the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder over the holidays; amazingly accurate – thanks for making the first day back at school rather less tedious than it could have been.

  8. I am a teacher.

    So that was a good laugh – now what do you really think about inclusion?

  9. I’d forgotten how funny this entry was….

  10. Reblogged this on christof74.

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