Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an iconic book written by Roald Dahl in 1964, and made into a movie in 1971. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a well known book with lovable characters. Charlie and his mother lived in a very small abode with Charlie’s four grandparents. All the grandparents, although lovable, are in bed together obviously with an ailment consistent with age.
It strikes me that the most plausible explanation for the reason for the bed rest of all four grandparents is osteoarthritis. It is most logical that each one of Charlie’s grandparents has an osteoarthritic hip or osteoarthritic knee. In the age of the time when Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was written osteoarthritis had no surgical treatment. Osteoarthritis would have been treated with bed rest and simple analgesics.
Interestingly, at the time of writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the treatment of osteoarthritis was just being explored with a replacement option. Interestingly it was Sir John Charnley, who lived up the M6 from Buckingham Shire (Roald Dahl’s home town) in Wrightington, who was championing hip replacement surgery at that time and was in fact the world leader. Sir Charnley’s enthusiasm for total hip replacement started around 1960, when fusion was the treatment for osteoarthritis.
Another interesting fact was that Roald Dahl had two hip replacements and he kept one of the femoral heads from his replacement surgery. That bone was sitting on Roald Dahl’s desk and perhaps was on his desk at the time of writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If you visit Roald Dahl’s home in Great Missenden England you will be able to see that femoral head sitting on his desk in his ‘garden shed’ that he used as a writers studio.
I therefore stand by my suggestion, and I believe it is a fair summation that Charlie’s grandparents were afflicted by severe and limiting osteoarthritis of the hips and knees and were just waiting joint replacement surgery. Perhaps this link was because of Roald Dahl’s osteoarthritis, and constant reminder of his hip being with him on his desk when he wrote about Charlie.