Author Archives: bearika

Gluttony, Greed, Lust & Sloth

In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory five kids get the opportunity of a lifetime when they get to go visit the baffling unknown world of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  It turns out that of the five lucky children, that all but one is awful.  Each child has a characteristic that aligns them with one of the seven deadly sins.  Roald Dahl uses each of the children to illustrate four of the seven deadly sins and their punishments in contrast to Charlie who is an example of how children should behave.

The first child to be punished is Augustus Gloop who’s deadly sin is gluttony.  Gluttony is excessive eating or drinking which is evident in the author’s descriptions of the boy saying, “Great flabby folds of fat bulged out from every part of his body, and his face was like a monstrous ball of dough with two small greedy curranty eyes peering out upon the world” (21).  His greed of food made him into this little fat boy who is too preoccupied with eating and food, he does not want to do anything else.  His punishment is set according to his love of food. Ironically, while visiting the Chocolate Room, Augustus is sucked up a pipe after trying to drink from the chocolate water fall and river.

The next child is Violet Beauregarde, whose deadly sin is greed.  Greed is excessive or extreme desire, which in this case is gum. She is preoccupied with gum saying, “I adore gum. I can’t do without it…it’s my most treasured possession” (31). The readers see Violet’s greed is evident when they visit the Inventing Room.  When Mr. Wonka tells her about the original new gum that is a full course meal, she automatically wants it and takes it for herself even after Mr. Wonka warns her it is ‘not quite right yet’ (95).  She is too obsessive by the gum and the feeling it gives her that she eats it anyway leading her becoming a blueberry.

Following Violet is Veruca Salt who is condemned for her sin of lust.   Lust is an uncontrolled desire for what someone else has. Her parents spoil her and give in to her demands so whenever she sees something new she automatically wants it and gets it. When she visits the Nut room she sees the trained squirrels and immediately wants one. “Hey Mummy, I’ve decided I’ve wanted a squirrel!,” but when Wonka says they are not for sell she says “Who says I can’t! I’m going in to grab me a squirrel this very minute!” (111). She decides to ignore Wonka and his warnings, however her ‘lust’ for a squirrel is too much so she is punished by the squirrels themselves because she was classified as a bad egg, causing her to be thrown down the garbage shoot.

The last child is Mike Teavee, whose deadly sin is sloth. Sloth is spiritual or emotional apathy, in other words, being physically and emotionally inactive. All he does is sit at home and watch the television.  When the reporters came to interview him he yelled several times for everyone to be quiet then claiming that the show “is an absolute wiz-banger! I watch it every day. I watch all of them every day, even the crummy ones” (33). He is completely consumed by television causing him to be physically and emotionally inactive every day. When Wonka explains about the ability to transfer something real to television, Mike jumps to the opportunity.  It is his obsession with television along with not wanting to be productive and ultimately his slothfulness, that leads to his punishment of being shrunken.

The effectiveness of giving these examples children portraying deadly sins and their lessons shows children that these characteristics are not acceptable.  It tells children that if they have these characteristics and do not grow out of them then they will be punished like Augustus, Violet, Veruca, and Mike.  Roald Dahl also uses Charlie as an example of how to behave.  In contrast to the other children, Charlie is such a humble, well-mannered, thoughtful, and an overall good person. He is awarded for his good heart, becoming the owner of the best chocolate factory in the world.

What would your Daemon Be? Online quiz

In Phillip Pullman’s novel, The Golden Compass, each human character has a creature called a daemon that is spiritually and emotionally connected to them. They cannot exist without them because they are a part of their soul. A child’s daemon can take on various shapes and forms because the child is imaginative and still developing, while an adult’s daemon is in a permanent form. The author uses the daemons to reflect their human’s personality and social class.

Daemons reflect the humans they are linked to. For example, Lord Asriel is a powerful man who is feared and respected with a daemon that is an immense snow leopard. The way he is described in the book as “dominating the room” (16) and having the most power goes along with the fact that he had the most majestic creature in the room. He was also characterized as “a tall man with powerful shoulders…all his movements were large and perfectly balanced, like those of a wild animal” (12). This description demonstrates the inclination of daemons to appear like their humans. Mrs. Coulter and her daemon are another example of this. She herself is beautiful and young, with “such an air of glamour” (59);while her daemon is a golden monkey, an intelligent animal, considered to have humanlike qualities because they have the ability to be strategize or control as her human is.

Daemons settle into a form that will best fit their human’s personality and social class.  In the very beginning of the novel when Lyra is hiding in the closet, the Steward enters with his daemon; “He was a servant, so he was a dog; but a superior servant, so a superior dog” (5).  Dogs aren’t special animals and were usually street animals during this time. This animal form could suggest that the Steward had grown up in the working class as a servant. Another example of class would be Roger; though he is a child and his daemon changes shape, it is often in the form of a rat. Roger is the kitchen boy, a worker for the college.  The lower class you are the more common your animal is.

For these reasons, Daemons play a significant part in the novel. They are completely connected to their humans that they are non-existent without each other. They reflect a human’s personality and social class.

From Baggins to Tookish!

Typical hobbits live in a cozy underground home and are usually described as being sheltered, lazy, unadventurous and as “homebodies.” Comfortable with their easygoing lifestyle, it is difficult for them to accept change or take on an adventure like one very special hobbit did. In The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, Bilbo Baggins stands out far beyond his kind, developing from a passive and timid character, to a successful and active hero.

In the beginning of the story, Gandalf and the dwarfs give Bilbo the worthless job of being a burglar. His company does not have much faith in him, thinking he is not suited for the journey to come. Bilbo himself declines the offer saying, “Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today (Tolkien 08) and is extremely overwhelmed by the chaos of his guests in the room. Practically forced to go on this adventure, the hobbit often reminisces of the life and home he had in shire. Bilbo says, “‘I wish I was at home in my nice hole by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing!’ It was not the last time he wished that” (Tolkien 36). This is evidence showing that he is unhappy, and prefers to be a home then out doing something out of the ordinary. This also reflects how hobbits truly are homebodies, thinking of the comforts of home whenever they are out.

As the tale progresses, the dwarfs have much more respect for Bilbo because of the obstacles he helps them overcome. In chapter eight, the crew and Bilbo are tied up by spider webs. When Bilbo sees a huge spider coming his direction he takes action using his sword to set himself free and kill the spider. He sets the rests of the dwarfs free by cutting of the webs and distracting the spiders.  He is clever to use the ring, stones and sword, utilizing his resources instead of calling of help. The narrator points out that, “Somehow the killing of this giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark . . . made a great difference to Mr. Baggins. He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach (Tolkien 180). The character is transforming from an introvert to being courageous. The once inexperienced and wary Hobbit has become independent.

The contrast of the Hobbit’s behavior in the beginning to the ending of the novel, illustrates his transformation. One could argue Bilbo has a dual personality: a side of him that prefers the quite, uneventful day at home (his Baggins side) versus his desire for adventure (from his Tooks side). From Baggins to Tookish, the character develops from a fearful and passive person to an active hero and an adventurous being.



Morals in Beauty and the Beast!

Beauty and the Beast has the classic fairytale qualities; the evil stepsisters, a beast, and magic. Though it is full of clichés, there are valuable messages of learning not to judge and to have a good heart. “Beauty and the Beast,” by De Beaumont, is a traditional fairytale about love, however it focuses on internal beauty instead of physical beauty like that of a noble night or prince charming. Beauty De Beaumont’s purpose in writing the story was to teach children the good virtue of kindness, good behavior and that one should not judge until you truly gotten to know them.
Beauty is characterized as the youngest daughter “who was admired by everyone;” someone beautiful BOTH on the inside and outside. De Beaumont purposely contrasts Beauty with her two evil sisters by their behavior. While her sister’s spent time doing materialistic things, Beauty enjoyed reading and being kind to others. When their family had lost everything, no one wanted to marry the sisters, however Beauty still had many offers for her hand in marriage. Beauty sacrifices herself endlessly, while her sisters are selfish from beginning to end. De Beaumont shows that everyone admired Beauty for the way she acted, and the virtues she followed while her sisters are dislike.
Beauty sacrifices herself to live with the beast. She initially judges the Beast by his outer appearance, trembling “at the site of his horrible appearance.” However, she became accustomed to his ugliness, even waited to see the beast. “Each day Beauty discovered new good qualities in the monster” (De Beaumont 39). By the end of the story she realizes that she loved him for all the good qualities he possessed despite the fact that he was a beast. This turning point, accepting his hand in marriage, shows that Beauty accepted who the beast truly was inside AND out. Having “preferred virtues to looks” allowed her to be ultimately happy and rewarded. In the introduction to “Beauty and the Beast” there is a message to women who are in arranged marriages noting that one may not be initially attracted to their husband, but with time will learn to love their beautiful qualities. This is exactly what De Beaumont’s writing implies; beauty on the inside is very important. The author shows that Beauty was rewarded with a happy ending for being the kindest, best behaved and selfless shows the reader’s that these qualities everyone should portray. The fact the greedy, evil sisters were turned into stone to “witness her happiness” further emphasized this lesson.