The American Journal of Psychoanalysis

, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 113–125 | Cite as


  • Ian S. Miller


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.


Willy Wonka precarity intergenerational chosen trauma fantasy identification 


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Copyright information

© Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian S. Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Kilmainham Congregational ChurchDublin 8Ireland

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