Thursday, 8 January 2009

Charlie and the Chocolate Underworld

Golden Ticket? Golden Bough, more like. The point of the ticket is not to grant you access to the mysterious, subterranean factory of sticky death, but to permit you to return again to the light (indeed: Dahl understands the logic here, for the sequel projects Charlie up and up and up, away from the underworld in reaction against it). Once they descend to Avernus the children see a strange landscape, various tortures (bodies snatched and stretched and distorted for their misdemeanours) and a persistent emphasis upon eternity ('Everlasting Gobstoppers' and the like). Finally, at the end, like Aeneas, Charlie encounters his father -- his true father, 'Willy', not his mundane above-ground Dad -- and is revealed as son and heir.

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