READING WILLY WONKA IN THE ERA OF ANTI-THINKING

Abstract

Whether encountered as a movie or novel, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a childhood staple of postwar Anglophone culture. Originally published in 1964, Dahl’s story of “Willie Wonka” is a morality tale for our times addressed by the present essay in relation to the precariousness, violence, intergenerational faith, and materialist fantasies reflective of contemporary life in the early twenty-first century. Compensating for the precarity of contemporary life’s impoverishment as assumptions of societal stability are overthrown, this chronicle of the Bucket family details: envious desire validated by large group chosen trauma; authoritarian enslavement of inferior, colonized peoples with murderous, industrial-level human experimentation; toward gratification of the greedy fantasy of unlimited sweetness under the sway of lethal identification with the aggressor.

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Correspondence to Ian S. Miller.

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Address correspondence to Ian S. Miller, Ph.D., Kilmainham Congregational Church, Inchicore Rd., Dublin 8, Ireland; email: driansmiller@gmail.com.

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Miller, I.S. READING WILLY WONKA IN THE ERA OF ANTI-THINKING. Am J Psychoanal 78, 113–125 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-018-9139-4

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Keywords

  • Willy Wonka
  • precarity
  • intergenerational
  • chosen trauma
  • fantasy
  • identification