Moral Values in Winnie the Pooh and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Categories: Values

The fantasy is a literary genre that is believed that its only public are children since adults opt for a more realistic literature, but if we think about the benefits fantasy gives is the capacity of allowing readers to visualize the world in different ways. That means that fantasy turns readers into open-minded people, who can associate what they are reading with the society that surrounds them. Taking the real world to fantasy causes it to deal with questions about morality.

By exaggerating situations and the themes of fantasy, children can learn and know better about the right and wrong things, and they can come to moral structures to deal with their own life's problems.

The two-text chosen to make this analysis are Winnie the Pooh (1924) written by A.A. Milne and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) by Roal Dahl. We can notice how fantasy is used as a mode of writing to engage the attention of an inexperienced reader to teach children about the moral problems that happens in everyday life.

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To begin with, we are going to focus on the story of Winnie the Pooh. The story written by A. A. Milne addressed his son, Christopher, who becomes the protagonist of the story, accompanied by his friends the animals, who play a very important role throughout the story as they enact different values. Those animals were the toys Christopher had as a child. So, that show us a different perspective of the story since, instead of being only one story, there are two stories to tell.

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The first one is the story of the real Christopher Robin who is been told a story by his father, and that story is the second one in which the author gave voice to the animals. This second story is the one used to teach the values with the use of fantasy in an animal story. In the case of A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh, it can be seen how the author give human characteristics to animal characters and that help children to identify with the characters and to learn of the relationship among them. The figure of the animals becomes essential to understand the background of the novel in which all the characters, in their own way and depending on their personality, give us lessons about everyday life. Children who read this book will receive those lessons in a clearer way because, as children, they are attracted to the figure of animals and even more if they see that in the book a child appears as the protagonist, who could be himself. Thus, children feel identified and therefore try to imitate what they see and read in a book. Among the values that children can learn through the personality we can find the sense of friendship between animals and children and among animals. This is reflected in numerous conversations in the book. For example, the character of Winnie the Pooh present a bear who has been able to teach kids how to appreciate their friends. He shows himself loving his friends and appreciating the relationship with others. We can see that many of the times Winnie the Pooh is going to refer to any of the other animals he adds before the name the word ‘friend' so that gives us an idea of how important friendship is to Pooh. An example of that is presented here, ‘ONE fine day Pooh had stumped up to the top of the Forest to see if his friend Christopher Robin was interested in Bears at all' (Milne 1924:99). We not only find it in conversations but also in different acts. An example of this is the moment in which Winnie the Pooh is trapped in the exit hole of Rabbit's house. After being stuck, Rabbit tried to help him by pulling him, but he was not successful and that is why he called Christopher Robin. In the end, after a week waiting for Winnie the Pooh to lose weight, to get out of the hole easily, Christopher Robin, Rabbit and his friends managed to take him out by pulling him. It can be seen in this quotation: ‘So for a week Christopher Robin read that sort of book at the North end of Pooh, and Rabbit hung his washing on the South end... and in between Bear felt himself getting slenderer and slenderer. And at the end of the week Christopher Robin said, "Now!" (Milne 1924:27).

Here it is demonstrated how friendship and teamwork make one's problems less. Another important value that needs to be spread is the sense of generosity and empathy with the rest of the people. That lesson is given to children by animals, although who starts it from the beginning is Winnie the Pooh but thank to him, another animal participates in a generous act. That act corresponds to Eeyore's birthday in which Eeyore seemed so sad and Winnie asked him what happened; in that moment Eeyore told him that it was his birthday, but anyone remembered so Winnie the Pooh started looking for a present and on the way home he found Piglet who, in turn, looked for another present for Eeyore. The fact of looking for anything to make a person happy on such a special day for him makes us see, both Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, how generosity must be presented in each one of us and it also teaches us to empathize, since no one likes to spend their birthday alone, or simply nobody wants to not be remembered. In that same moment we can appreciate another value but in that case, it is given by Eeyore. He feels so thankful because his friends gave him presents for his birthday but if we see deeper we can notice that he is okay with little since we see how Winnie and Piglet offer their gifts which really should be: a jar full of honey, not a single jar to save things and a balloon, not a piece of an exploited balloon but, Eeyore feels happy with the simple fact that his friends have given him some gifts. But this value can also be seen the other way around since, for example, Pooh was supposed to give Eeyore a pot full of honey, but he eats it in the way to Eeyore's house, and Eeyore is presented as a character who only thinks about himself, how lonely he is and showing his sadness. The reason why we draw two conclusions from the same idea is because one of them is the one we can see at a glance, which in this case would be the selfishness of the characters, and the other is what we find if we go deeper and look for a teaching of that selfishness. Then it is important to mention the motif of trying everything and thinking that you can do everything. The least value we are going to talk about is the motif in which everyone is different, and all people should be accepted and respected for who they are. If we look to the different personalities of the characters, we can notice that they are so different among them but that is not an obstacle to be friends since it is beneficial to relate to people different from us because this gives us different points of view and helps us to be more open-minded. For example, Christopher Robin is the sole human character and, although he is a child he represents the maturity in the book while Winnie the Pooh is different from him since he is considered as a ‘Bear of very little brain'.

Now we are going to analyse the moral values presented in the fantasy in Roal Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964). In this novel it is presented a ‘fantastic world' where there is a chocolate factory in a town where Charlie lives. The novel presents morality from the beginning of the novel, in which we are shown a child from a poor family who is anxious to have under his power a golden ticket that allows him to access the chocolate factory of Willy Wonka, a factory closed for years. As the day went by, the first lucky ones came to get those tickets, since there were only five in the whole world, hidden inside Willy Wonka's chocolate bars. Something that characterizes each of the first winners is their ambition to win the prize, not to enjoy the visit of the factory, like Charlie did. That is why four of the five winners leave the scene, progressively, accompanied by the fantastic characters of the Oompa Loompas and their warnings songs. An example could be the chapter 17 in which Augustus Gloop, because of being drinking the hot chocolate's river, fell on it and disappear and then the Oompa-Loompas started to sing: ‘the five Oompa-Loompas on the far side of the river suddenly began hopping and dancing about and beating wildly upon a number of very small drums. 'Augustus Gloop!' they chanted. 'Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop!' (Dahl, 1964:47). An important value presented in the book is that every person is different and that there are actions that should be avoided. First, Charlie teaches the value of the kindness by sharing his birthday present with his family since it is a chocolate bar, a sweet that can only be eaten once a year on his birthday and therefore he decides to share it so that everyone can enjoy that pleasure, ‘He smiled at them, a small sad smile, and then he shrugged his shoulders and picked up the chocolate bar and held it out to his mother, and said, 'Here, Mother, have a bit. We'll share it. I want everybody to taste it.' (Dahl. 1964:20). Augustus Gloop and Violet Beauregarde show rudeness and insubordination, like in this moment when he did not pay attention to what Willy Wonka said of taking a blade and for that we must assume all the warnings: ‘Automatically, everybody bent down and picked one blade of grass — everybody, that is, except Augustus Gloop, who took a big handful.' (Dahl, 1964:40) or when she took the chewing-gum meal despite being warned by Willy Wonka not to be quite right: ‘Oh, to blazes with that!' said Violet, and suddenly, before Mr Wonka could stop her, she shot out a fat hand and grabbed the stick of gum out of the little drawer and popped it into her mouth.' (Dahl 1964:56). The next character, Veruca Salt, shows the value of the avarice, she demands anything she wants to have, and she does not stop complaining until she gets it: 'Daddy!' shouted Veruca Salt (the girl who got everything she wanted). 'Daddy! I want an Oompa-Loompa! I want you to get me an Oompa-Loompa!' (Dahl 1964:43). Here children can learn how to be grateful with what they have because having more things does not imply being happier. Then, Mike Teeves is presented as a child addicted to television and that is something children must avoid since they need an active life, do sports and going out, not staying in front of a screen without doing nothing. What can be highlighted about the personalities of each child is that, those who behaved badly are punished and therefore the child who reads the book will know that the actions the characters did were not right and for that reason they should not follow their actions. However, we find Charlie, who from the start behaved appropriately and this gives us two conclusions. Firstly, it does not matter what social class you come from or how rich you are, what really matters is the politeness and knowing how to behave in different situations, and finally we can see that from the beginning Willy Wonka knew who would be the winner because during the visit he puts some child in reach of something that really catches their attention, in the case of Augustus it was the chocolate, for Veruca it would be the craving for a squirrel, Violet a chewing gum and Mike a television.

As a conclusion, we have analysed two different novels from different periods but despite this we see how fantasy works in the same way in both. Fantasy is used as a medium through which authors can spread different values adapted to children. In this case, the values that we have analysed are focus on the way the characters behave, since children can see themselves reflected in them. Both texts reflect values about the behaving, but they are presented in a different way. In one hand, A. A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh (1924) focus in the friendship among characters, how to solve your problems if you work in team, and it teaches children not to be selfish, which can be seen when Winnie the Pooh ate the jar of honey in the way of Eeyore's house. In the other hand, in Roal Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) we focus on the behaviour of the five children since the reader can relate on them. Thanks to the punishment Willy Wonka and the bad behaviour of four of the five children, the reader can understand what is wrong and what is right. Finally, without using fantastic elements that spreading of values may not have work considering that children are attracted by things like animals or maybe an enormous factory of chocolate so, authors must find the correct elements to make the children learn while they are enjoying the reading.

Updated: Feb 26, 2024
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Moral Values in Winnie the Pooh and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (2024, Feb 26). Retrieved from

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