In the Dante's-Inferno-for-Children
known as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
(or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
for those of us averse to reading), Augustus Gloop represents gluttony
. He was the first to find his golden ticket
thanks to his unbelievable appetite
in addition to a little bit of luck, he was also the first of the group to be 'removed.' One might imagine that a child with a prodigious appetite would be unable to contain himself inside the largest chocolate factory in the world, and when he began lapping from the chocolate river
like a dog, fell in and went up the pipe. He emerged ten feet tall, his enormous bulk stretched and thinned, and we can only hope, a little wiser.
One thing that I like about the book is that the parents are blamed for the calamities that befall their offspring as well, for we all know that children don't come into being willing to consume the food needed for the entire country of Bolivia in a single day. Over-indulgent parents are a bad thing.
Until yesterday, I believed that Augustus Gloop was a fictional character. Yesterday, he entered the bakery that I work at. A boy of about eight years old of impressive girth practically skips into the store, pauses for a second, then starts in... "Ooh, I want that!!! Oh, and two cupcakes too! Oooh, look at that? Mom, can I have that? Please?!?! Ooh..." So I turn my attention to the extremely corpulent mother of the child. Most parents point to one thing that their child wants, ignoring the oohing, ahhing, and pleading. This one smiled at me, "Oh, whatever he wanted." I bit my tongue, sarcastic comment in my head about not being able to box up the entire store threatening to come out, and filled the order.
The comparison between our boy here and his mother hit me as I was boxing up a couple of cupcakes, only then did I realize the physical similarities between these two and the characters in the movie. I was horrified. Unfortunately, my bakery is not magical, I have no singing oompa loompas in the back, and there's no chocolate river running through it. The closest I could have come would be to dip the boy's head in the five-gallon bucket of chocolate icing in the back, but the criminal charges that would follow deterred me. So this Augustus remained unpunished as his mother paid and he dug into the chocolate croissant.