One of my favorite read aloud books to my fourth graders is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The book follows the adventures of four children who win a chance to tour the magical chocolate factory of an eccentric candy maker, Willie Wonka. As a little boy my son, Jeff was enchanted with the movie and spent many days seeking out an imaginary golden tickets so that he, like Charlie could tour the factory of confectionary delights.
I will admit that I had alterior motives for choosing the book for reading aloud to my children. Not only is it fun, fantasy, but there are great core values to be found and as a Christian educator, it was easy to take such discussions from the book as obedience, gluttony, the value of honoring parents and those in authority, the good and the bad of the media, and in the end those who are honest can come out on top.
At the end of the movie, I am not sure, but I don’t think this is in the book, Charlie and his grandfather are the only ones left to inherit the grand prize, a years supply of chocolate. The secret is the real grand prize is to inherit the factory. Charlie and his grandfather are told by Willie Wonka, that they to have forfeited the prize for disobedience. They had slipped away and thought no one knew that they had stolen and drank “fizzy lifting drinks,” bumping into the ceiling and contaminating the brew.
Outraged the grandfather declares revenge and whispers to Charlie that the Everlasting Gobstopper will find its way to Mr. Wonka’s archenemy candy maker, Slugworth. Charlie in the end shows more character than his grandfather by returning the temptation and leaving the Gobstopper on Mr. Wonka’s desk.
“So shines a good deed in a weary world.” Willie Wonka gives Charlie and the whole Bucket family entrance into his factory and the poverty stricken Buckets in one moment, one reversal of fortune, become wealthy. The Buckets go from watery cabbage soup with no bread, to dine on the finest including the greatest candy in the world. And why, because Charlie chose to walk in the light of what is right, and not seek the darkness of revenge.
Each day in our walk in the “weary world” we are faced with the light and the dark. It is our choice which path we walk, whose influence we follow. I love Charlie; I do not know the spiritual condition of Roald Dahl. I know that most of his books have a dark and light side. For instance, Verica, Violet, Mike Teevee and Augustus do end up in some pretty dark spots and though we can say they deserve it, it is still scary to think they may be squashed or incinerated in the garbage dump, or remain the size and shape of an elastic band for being transported by television.
We are living in a weary world. Weary of the dark and some authors today think that is the answer is to make the dark lighter, hence the Twilight series. On this website we have aspiring writers who have something to say in print about the Light of the World, Jesus. Each of us have our own God given abilities, but our message is light, and like Him we seek to destroy the darkness.
It is my prayer that God will give us the inspiration for stories like Charlie, that entertain, that reach, and that those stories will be framed by the light of the Word. It is so needed today for we as Christian writers to take hold of the market and get out to hungry children and their parents, stories, novels, plays, and movie scripts that not only entertain, but that rebuke the darkness and shed the light of the marvelous Christ into the hearts and minds of those who read the print or watch the stage and screen. In Ephesians 5:8 Paul reminds us, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Like Charlie, let us so shine in our gift, that we dispel darkness, and bring the Light to shine on our weary world.