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This article is about the fictional character. For the rock group, see Veruca Salt .
Veruca Salt is a fictional character from the Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the subsequent film adaptations.

Veruca in the novel

Veruca, the spoiled and greedy only daughter of the wealthy Henry and Angina Salt, regularly exerts petulant behavior in order to get what she desires, and even her parents are not immune to her loud screaming outbursts and tantrums. She shamelessly browbeats her parents (usually her father in the film adaptations) over material things. When Veruca demands that she must have a Golden Ticket, her father buys numerous cases of Wonka Bars, and orders his factory workers to put aside their regular duties of peanut-shelling and unwrap the bars, although stopping regular work in his factory would cost him business. The process lasts three days, all of which Veruca spends complaining and screaming that she doesn't have her ticket, and her father vows to keep up the search until he finds one for her. On the fourth day the ticket is finally found, Veruca is "all smiles again." Veruca is the second person to find a Golden Ticket, and the third to leave the tour. A little more of Veruca is revealed at her interview and her father does all the talking. Charlie Bucket comments that he doesn't think the father played it fair while the grandmothers say that Veruca is worse than "the fat boy" and deserves a "good spanking". On the tour, Veruca demands her father get her an Oompa-Loompa, then a chocolate river and pink sweet-boat like Wonka's, and finally the demand that proves her undoing - one of Wonka's squirrels. Mr Salt later confesses to Wonka that he knows his daughter is "a bit of a frump," yet says that it's no reason for his daughter to be "burned to a crisp," on the grounds that he and his wife love their daughter very much.

Veruca in the 1971 film

In the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Veruca hails from England (her nationality was never specified in the novel), and her parents are renamed Henry and Henrietta. Mr. Salt is a weak-willed and weary man, easily dominated by his spoiled daughter, and Mrs. Salt's attitude is "happiness is what counts with children. Happiness and harmony". Veruca complains about her father's staff's inability to find the Golden Ticket "the very first day", and refuses to go to school until the ticket is found. He pleads with her to give him time, saying that his staff has been working from dawn until dusk for five days straight. Veruca bellows in response, "Make ’em work nights!". In order to expedite the process, Mr. Salt offers a £1 bonus to the first employee who finds the ticket, which happens a few minutes later.

Veruca wants to be the first to enter while waiting with the tour group outside Wonka's factory, during which she is wearing one of her personal collection of four mink coats. She is obnoxious and aggressive, as depicted in the novel, in addition to resorting to threats and even physical violence. She shoves, pushes, and hits her father, and does likewise to Violet Beauregarde while both girls are descending the Chocolate Room stairs. This incident aside, she is not completely indifferent, though not entirely amiable, to the other children; she confides to Charlie, "He [Wonka] is absolutely bonkers!" and expresses concern over Violet and Augustus Gloop's separate punishments for disobeying Wonka's orders during the tour. Before Violet is removed, she becomes the first person to stand up to Veruca and tells her to shut her big mouth whenever she makes whining demands from her father or Wonka.

Veruca's final scene is the Golden Egg Room, where she pleads to her father to buy her one of Wonka's golden egg-laying geese. After Wonka naturally refuses the offer, Veruca goes on a tirade by breaking into song, trashing the room, and disturbing the Oompa Loompas' work. She then climbs onto an Eggdicator and is promptly dropped down into the trash incinerator after being rejected as a "bad egg."

Julie Dawn Cole portrayed Veruca in the film. The song "I Want it Now" was recorded on Cole's thirteenth birthday, and Veruca's trashing of the Golden Egg Room required a total of thirty-six takes.

Veruca in the 2005 film

In the 2005 adaptation, Veruca (played by Julia Winter) resides in a palatial mansion in Buckinghamshire, again revealing that Veruca is from Englandmarker. Her repugnant personality is still intact, but it is expressed in a cold and direct manner rather than whiny and loud. Only when she is denied something does the spoiled Veruca completely lose her cool, such as when she and her father leave the factory covered in refuse.

Veruca's primary parental figure and factory tour chaperone is once again her father. Even when her parents satisfy her incessant desires, Veruca lacks any sense of gratitude in return. When Mr. Salt proudly presents to her the long-awaited Golden Ticket that took three days for his staff to find, as she seems on the verge of saying "Thank you", she instead says, "Daddy, I want another pony." Meanwhile, her blonde-haired mother sips martinis in lieu of reacting to her daughter's familiar outbursts.

Along with Mike Teevee, Veruca never actually consumed any Wonka Bars during the ticket search. Charlie comments, "I don't think that was really fair - she didn't find the ticket herself." During the tour, she is the first to spot the Oompa Loompas when the group visits the Chocolate Room (in a deleted take, she again demands an Oompa-Loompa, but it was cut from the final version). She and Violet pretend to become friends, though neither could care less about the other (however, the girls that portrayed them became friends during and even well after the movie's filming). After Violet is punished for chewing a prototype gum against Wonka's orders and consequently transformed into a giant blueberry, Mrs. Beauregarde wonders what she'll do with a blueberry for a daughter and how she will compete again. Veruca snidely replies, "You could put her in a county fair."

Veruca's greed finally gets the best of her when she and the others look in a nut room. She demands a pet Squirrel. Her dad wearily agrees to the demand, but Wonka politely refuses. Veruca tries to get one herself but instead gets attacked by angry squirrels, when she attempts to take the apparent leader. She demands them to stop attacking her, but is instead thrown down a garbage chute en route to the incinerator. The Oompa Loompas then sing a reproachful song to Mr. Salt about spoiling his daughter and turning her into a spoiled brat, and then he too is knocked down the chute. Since the incinerator is broken at the time, they instead leave the factory covered in large amounts of refuse, with Rupert crossly glaring at his daughter as they are leaving. Her final on-screen demand is that she wants a flying elevator. Mr. Salt, rather than catering to her demands as he has done for most of her life, instead scolds Veruca by crossly saying that the only thing she will be getting that day "is a bath, and that's final". This statement implies that he and his wife will be stricter, more money-conscious, and not as lax and lenient on their daughter from then on. Veruca does not take the change seriously and angrily claims she wants one anyway, leading both her and her father to exchange silent glares.

Earlier in the film, Veruca cuts in front of Wonka to introduce herself with a polite curtsey as he leads the tour group through the factory entrance, and Wonka replies, "I always thought a verruca is a wart you get on the bottom of your foot." Indeed, the term verruca plantaris is Latin for "plantar wart," and is a common British English phrase, hence the decision to make Veruca from the United Kingdom in both films. Dahl claimed that while coming up with a name for the spoiled girl, he found out that "Veruca Salt" was the name of a wart medication he once had in his medicine cabinet.

Veruca's Endgame

In the novel, Veruca's comeuppance takes place in Wonka's Nut Sorting Room, which is occupied by worker squirrels. After being denied a squirrel by both Wonka and her mother, Veruca brazenly enters the premises and attempts to take a squirrel anyway. She is immediately engulfed by the creatures, pinned to the floor, rejected as a "bad nut," and hauled into the garbage chute. Both her parents quickly suffer the same fate afterwards. They leave the factory covered in garbage.

Her predicament is similar in the 2005 version, minus her mother; the Oompa Loompas instead drop a painting of Mrs. Salt into the chute in order to emphasize that both of Veruca's parents have spoiled her rotten, and they sing their reproachful song about spoiling children to Mr. Salt before he goes down the chute. Mr. Salt, hovering over the chute opening in a vain attempt to spot his daughter, is then knocked in from behind by one of the squirrels. Both Veruca and Mr. Salt are spared immolation along with three weeks' worth of trash on the weekly burning day only because the incinerator is broken. Angered at the humiliating ordeal in the chocolate factory, through with wasting his hard-earned money on his daughter, and being chastised by the Oompa Loompas for spoiling her, Rupert angrily refuses his daughter's demand for a flying glass elevator and says that she will only be getting a bath that day instead, crossly glaring at her after she protests.

In the 1971 movie, the squirrels are replaced with geese laying golden eggs. Wonka denies a sale of one of the birds to Veruca, after which she sings her musical solo, "I Want It Now." After then making a mess of the room, she stands atop the eggdicator, which judges her a "bad egg," and sends her plummeting down the garbage chute en route to the furnace. Mr. Salt jumps down into the chute a moment later to try to rescue her. Their ultimate fate is only mentioned at the end of the movie, when Wonka assures Charlie that the four bad children will be returned to their normal, terrible selves, but maybe a bit wiser for the wear.

Veruca Salt song

Veruca's impending doom in the chute is the subject of the novel's poem and the 2005 lyrics, as is the Salts' blame for turning their daughter into a spoiled brat. In the novel and first film, the song is performed after Veruca and her parents go into the chute.

The 1971 lyrics centered on who is to blame for Veruca's avarice and what can be done to prevent children from suffering a similar fate, during which several rhyming words ("brat" and "cat", "shame" and "blame") were individually displayed onscreen in Scanimate style. In the 2005 version, the track was sung to an upbeat and psychedelic folk rock-style melody; Mr. Salt is pushed into the chute after the song ends. It is implied that the song gets through to Mr. Salt because he becomes a better, but stricter, father to his spoiled daughter as they leave the factory.

References

Trivia

  • In an interview many years later talking to the cast about their work in the 1971 adaptation, she revealed that she and Denise Nickerson both had a crush on fellow actor Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie Bucket.


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