So Sad about Veruca

August 21, 2011

“I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it up in my pocket. . . and if I don’t get the things I am after, I’m going to SCREAM.”   – – Veruca Salt, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Veruca Salt. The quintessential example of what happens when you’re enabled to satisfy your every whim. The proof that patience is a virtue and that good things come to those who wait.
But are we forgetting something? Where’s our humanity? In the novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl documents how Veruca and her parents were savagely attacked by squirrels and shoved into a garbage chute. Through only some good fortune was Mr. Willy Wonka’s incinerator broken, saving them from a certain fiery death. However, the experience traumatized young Veruca, – an experience only further compounded with the resulting garbage smell not leaving her skin for weeks.
This is one of the letters Veruca received from a classmate while she attended a special school for children working through psychological issues:
Dear Veruca,
Hi Veruca this is Pamela from school. I heard that you weren’t feeling well and wouldn’t be coming to school for a while. I think it is really cool that you got to see the inside of the chocolate factory. Did you get to eat a lot of chocolate? I hope you can tell me about it sometime.
I am sorry that you got hurt while you were there. I hope you get better really soon. If you want me to come by and bring you anything let me know. I hope your parents are ok too.

PS: Can’t wait till your next party – they are always so fun!
If Pamela saw past the Oompa Loompa’s rather judgmental (though insightful) description of a spoiled child whose lax parental upbringing resulted in her demise, why can’t we?
Let Pamela’s letter serve as reminder to us that those that pursue instant gratification are still human, and deserve our compassion.

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