Human and or Oompa- Loompa

             Oompa Loompas are dehumanized in this story in many different ways. We are first “introduced” to them in the form of shadows without a clear introduction. When they are introduced on page 68 the words Mr. Wonka uses are belittling: “Imported directly from Loompaland” and “I found the little Oompa- Loompas living in tree houses” (69). Imported is a word used to describe the arrival a good, an inanimate object, he also suggests that he “found” them and describes them as “little” and “tiny”. When Mr. Wonka begins to tell about the history of the workers he shares that they are from Loompaland and Mrs. Salt, a geography teacher, claims that there is no such place; this adds to the dehumanization of the Oompa- Loompas because it is implying that they come from no real place, no real country, or a real background. The Oompa – Loompas are only seen as a group/tribe, there is no individuality besides the leader which is only known as “the Oompa – Loompa leader”. They are described to be savage yet helpless even as a group: “they were living on green caterpillars” (69). Mr. Wonka thinks he has saved them from what they could have become, they seem incapable of leading a “happy” life without his aid.

On page 71 Veruca shouts at her dad and nags him to get her an Oompa- Loompa: “I want to take it home with me! Go on, Daddy! Get me and Oompa- Loompa!”, Veruca thinks she can take one home as though it were an animal at a pet shop and had no will. Once she learns that she will not get an Oompa- Loompa she sets her sights on another “pet”. Mr. Wonka does not “employ” only Oompa- Loompas in his factory: “Oompa- Loompas can’t get walnuts out of walnut shells in one piece. They always break them in two. Nobody except squirrels can get walnuts whole out of walnut shells every time” (110), buy using squirrels to work and compete with the Oompa- Loompas it shows that they are on the same level as an animal. Mr. Wonka tried to use them to do the task of a squirrel. “”All right,” Veruca said, “I’ll have you!”“ talking about one of the working squirrels, she is just as easily amused and sees both Oompa- Loompas and squirrels as pets.

Aside from all the jobs that we learn the Oompa- Loompas do, we do not learn what they do in their spare time nor do we know if they have spare time. It seems like they work all day like machines or animals and serve only one purpose.


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