Background in all versionsEdit
In each version, Veruca is portrayed as an immature, overindulged, manipulative, wealthy young girl (in a stereotypical manner - lives in a mansion, is driven around in a limo, etc.) whose affluent parents treat her like a princess and give her anything she wants, no matter how ridiculous the price or how outrageous the item is. In the book, she is described as "the daughter of rich parents" and in her profile on the official 2005 movie website she is described as the "heiress to the Salt nut fortune". Her father's profession is the same in all three versions, the CEO of a large legume conglomerate. The mother is different with each version. In the book she is shown having a job that adds to the vast wealth of the family, where she teaches geography. (In the 1971 film the teaching job is given to Mrs. Teavee and in the 2005 film Mr. Teavee is the geography teacher while in the play Mrs. Beauregarde is one; all four ask about the existence of Loompaland). In the 1971 film sadly the mother is not shown working, nor in the 2005 film. In both films the mother may be a socialite or take advantage of her wealth to aid others in need. In the 1971 film Mrs. Salt is shown doing needlepoint, which is a hobby for many women at the time the film was made. However in the 2005 film she is shown markedly more as a playgirl, making no remark to Veruca's outbursts or how her husband obliges her, instead sipping martinis. The age of Veruca Salt is never explicitly given in the book nor the two films, but the theatrical adaptations can allow some creative leeway into the girl's age; similarly, her nationality is given as English in the films but is not given in the book, again leading to creative leeway (see "theatrical adaptations" section below). The only mention of Veruca's residence in the book is that she and her parents lived "in a great city" far away from the Bucket residence.
Each version implies that Veruca's parents have spoiled her and raised her in luxury since the day she was born. When Veruca doesn't get what she wants immediately, she screams, shouts, kicks, stomps, jumps up and down, and takes extreme measures until she finally has her way. Before the tour with her parents to Wonka's chocolate factory, Veruca's parents (especially her father in the films and theatrical adaptations) seem to view her as a sweet, innocent "precious little princess". Charlie's view of Veruca in the films seems jaded in that the employees of the Salt Corporation did the work thus the lady who actually found the ticket deserves the tour, not Veruca. In the book he is a tad more naive. Charlie is grateful for the rare occasions when his parents or grandparents can pamper him with small gifts (namely Wonka bars) because he realizes they do it out of their love for him. As such, Charlie believes that Mr. Salt must really love his daughter in suspending business to have all his employees shell wrappers on Wonka bars to get her a Golden Ticket. While that may actually be true in some respects, Grandpa Joe corrects Charlie's viewpoint in saying that Mr. Salt "spoils her, Charlie, and mark my words, no good can ever come from a child by spoiling her".
However, after being ambushed and dirtied in the Nut Sorting Room by Wonka's squirrels (one of which she demanded her parents buy for her), their opinions of Veruca shift more toward reality and they act far less leniently and more strictly, having learned their lesson about overindulging children. Veruca is always upset when she does not get what she wants. All versions of the story, except some theatrical adaptations, depict her wearing a mink fur coat over her clothes (fur outfits are seen as a sign of great wealth in popular media (such as cartoons and movies), and mink coats were almost never made for girls and women at the time that the book was written (these coats were usually made of rabbit fur), no matter how wealthy the family was). In some theatrical shows and fan fiction stories, Veruca has siblings that may be just as bratty as she is, or prefer to be more responsible and less demanding, as well as show disgust for Veruca's bratty behavior (as Roald Dahl did not clarify whether or not the "bad" children were only children).
In all versions, Mr. Salt is the only parent to suffer the same fate as their child. The other parents walks out untouched, while Mr. Salt haven falling or pushed down the same garbage chute as Veruca suffering the same fate as his duaghter.
Veruca in the novelEdit
Veruca Salt, the spoiled and greedy daughter of the wealthy Henry/Rupert and Angina Salt, regularly exerts loud and 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 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 and precious revenue. 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." Her home is located in "a city far away". Unlike the movie adaptations, Veruca's hair is curly and blonde (with a pink bow at the top of her hair), and her dress resembles a ballet tutu. She is described as very pretty by Mr. Wonka when he first meets her and her parents at the factory gates. She may be similar in character to Miranda Piker, fellow tour group member. She is the second person to find a Golden Ticket, and the third to be kicked out of the tour. Charlie Bucket comments that he doesn't think her father played it fair while his grandmothers say that Veruca is worse than "the fat boy" (Augustus Gloop) and deserves "a good spanking." On the tour, Veruca demands her father get her an Oompa-Loompa, then a chocolate river and pink boat like Wonka's, and finally, the demand that proves her undoing - one of Wonka's nut-sorting squirrels. Unlike the two film adaptations and most of the theatrical shows, Mr. Salt later confesses to Wonka that he knows his daughter is "a bit of a frump," and that he doesn't mind admitting it, yet says that it's no reason for his daughter to be "roasted to a crisp," on the grounds that he and his wife love their daughter very much and just simply want to make her happy and provide for her needs.
Veruca in the 1971 filmEdit
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 weak-willed and 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. She also tearfully laments that the workers may be jealous of her for wanting the Ticket. He pleads with her to give him time and 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 in the Pure Imagination number. In fact, there is tangible friction between the two girls throughout; at one point Violet even silences Veruca's whining with "can it, you nit!", and later with "stop squawking, you twit!". 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' separate punishments for disobeying Wonka's orders during the tour.
Veruca's final scene is the Golden Egg Room, where she wants her father to buy her one of Wonka's golden egg-laying geese. After Wonka naturally refuses her father's offer (as he is taking out his wallet/checkbook), Veruca goes on a tirade by breaking into song ("I Want it Now"), trashing the room, and disturbing the Oompa Loompas' work. She then climbs onto an Eggdicator and is promptly dropped down into the furnace holding room after being rejected as a "bad egg" by the machine. Her father, too, is deemed a "bad egg" after falling into the chute in an attempt to rescue her. Julie Dawn Cole portrayed Veruca in the film. "I Want it Now" was coincidencially recorded on Cole's thirteenth birthday (October 26, 1970), and Veruca's trashing of the Golden Egg Room required a total of 36 takes.
Veruca in the 2005 filmEdit
In the 2005 adaptation, Veruca (played by Julia Winter) resides in a palatial mansion in Buckinghamshire, again revealing that Veruca is from England. Her repugnant personality is still intact, but it is expressed in a cold, direct, manipulative, egocentric and snobby manner, rather than aggressive and boisterous. Only when she is denied something, or when the ticket search is taking too long, does the spoiled Veruca lose her cool, though she can appear very sweet and charming when she feels things will go her way. Her father does the talking in her interview (though she does spell out her first name to the BBC reporters), and the interview is conducted in one of the mansion's halls. (The exterior of the mansion was Wrotham Park in Barnet, Hertfordshire while the interior shots were filmed in Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.) Additionally, her unnamed mother says absolutely nothing (in the final cut of the film). Her father is renamed Rupert, as revealed on one of his business cards. Her many "marvelous pets" are one pony, two dogs, four cats, six rabbits, two parakeets, three canaries, a green parrot, a turtle and a very old hamster (the bowl of goldfish and cage of white mice are absent), all of which are earlier gifts from her parents. Veruca's primary parental figure and factory tour chaperon is once again her father (portrayed by James Fox), here depicted as an elderly but somewhat snobbish English gentleman. Even when her indulgent parents satisfy her incessant desires, Veruca lacks any sense of gratitude in return, which results in her being removed from the tour and for her father's epiphany about her. When Mr. Salt proudly presents to her the long-awaited Golden Ticket that took three days for his staff to find, she seems on the verge of thanking him, but instead says, "Daddy, I want another pony."She is dressed in a typical British girls' school uniform as she is saying this, as she is returning home from her unnamed school. Meanwhile, her mother (played by Francesca Hunt in a silent role, at least in the final cut of the movie) sips martinis in lieu of reacting to her daughter's bratty outbursts. During the tour, she is the first to spot the Oompa Loompas when the group visits the Chocolate Room (and, in a deleted scene, she again demands one from her father). Veruca, like the 1971 film, isn't mean to Charlie Bucket despite the kids' separate economic classes. Unlike the 1971 film, Veruca is a little nicer to Violet and even says they should be friends. Violet seemingly agrees, but then makes a disgusted face when Veruca's back is turned to show she really doesn't like her. (However, the girls that portrayed them are friends in real life.) 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 replies to the latter question, "You could put her in a county fair." At this, Wonka smiles and makes a noise of agreement. She also asks Wonka if Violet will always be a blueberry, meaning she could be concerned about her deep down.
Veruca's insatiable greed finally gets the best of her when she and the others visit the Nut Sorting Room (a spacious room where an army of trained worker squirrels are shelling walnuts), which her father seems to know quite a bit about. Mr. Salt (wearily) attempts to purchase a squirrel after Veruca demands one (though her father tries to talk her out of it), but Wonka politely refuses, stating that the squirrels are not for sale. Refusing to oblige to her father's and Wonka's orders, Veruca then enters the work area to take one for herself (choosing the apparent leader), but is immediately mobbed by all of the squirrels, who soon overpower, restrain and haul her into the garbage chute (a round pit located in the center of the floor), which in turn leads down to an incinerator. Mr. Salt looks down the pit for any sign of her, and at the same time, feels guilty for doing the one thing that led to this fate, spoiling her. He is then pushed in by one of the squirrels, screaming from behind. However, since the incinerator is broken at the time, Veruca and her father are spared immolation and instead leave the factory covered in three weeks' worth of rotten garbage, with flies surrounding the two as they step out of the factory's entrance. Her final demand is that she wants a flying glass elevator, after seeing Wonka's contraption soaring in the sky, high above the building. However, rather than cheerfully and obediently cater to Veruca's demands like before, Rupert instead sternly and firmly tells Veruca that the only thing she will be getting that day "is a bath, and that's final", having changed his opinion of Veruca and the way he treats her by realizing that he has turned her into a frumpy brat by indulging her too much. Veruca doesn't take the new attitude that her father is implementing seriously, and angrily insists that she wants one anyway, causing Rupert to sharply glare at his daughter, proving that his new opinion of his daughter is serious.
Earlier in the film, before the tour begins, Veruca cuts in front of Wonka to introduce herself with a curtsy as he leads the tour group through the factory entrance, during which Wonka replies, "I always thought a verruca was a type of wart you got 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 in both films to make the girl come from England. The character's name was conceived from a wart medication called "Veruca Salt" that Dahl claimed he once had in his medicine cabinet.
Veruca in the video gamesEdit
In the 1985 arcade game based on the book, the player must control Veruca in a certain level that requires dodging the squirrels from the Nut Sorting Room. In the 2005 film's video game, after Veruca is thrown at the Nut Sorting Room's garbage system, the squirrels get out of control and leave their "seats", which causes the nuts to constantly fall out of the containers and block the garbage chute. Charlie and the Oompa Loompas must go through the room's outer divisions and bring the squirrels back to work. He then dives into the factory's sewer systems to rescue Veruca from the incinerator. He manages to throw her through a tunnel that leads her to a garbage dump where the Oompa Loompas help her out of the factory.
Veruca in theatrical adaptationsEdit
In theatrical adaptations, Veruca is a combination of the two English girls from the films, but Veruca and her family can be from anywhere in the world.Her father/mother is in the nut bsiness as in all other versions, but the main focus of the business is now mainly Brazil nuts rather than peanuts. She can also be given siblings, and she threatens her accompanying parent to fire new character Phineous Trout when he calls her "Veronica Salt" during her interview. She is often depicted, from actress to actress, wearing a skirt or dress, but a director can choose more modern clothing if necessary. She retains her "I Want it Now" song from the 1971 film, but the opening spoken lyrics are slightly modified to accommodate the fact that the animals in the scene are squirrels like in the book and 2005 film. In most high school versions of the play, the song is extended to include such desires as wanting the stars and "Venus and Saturn arranged in a pattern". In some plays, her mother is her tour chaperone instead of her father, but in other plays, both of her parents come with her and go down into the chute in an attempt to rescue her. She sings most of her lyrics in her "Oompa Loompa" song, and on the verse "The mother and the father", the actors playing Veruca, her parents and the Oompa Loompas point to the parents in the audience. Also, at the near-end of the play, all of the "bratty" kids (including Veruca and her optional siblings) and the Oompa-Loompas sing a fifth Oompa-Loompa song, talking about all of the "bratty" kids in general; their parents then give them a hug after the song ends and they walk offstage, instead of punishing them for their misbehavior.
In the novel, Veruca's comeuppance takes place in Wonka's Nut Sorting Room, where she is denied a squirrel of her own by both Wonka and her mother. After Wonka refuses to sell one of his worker squirrels to her father, 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 when they go into the work area in an attempt to rescue her. They leave the factory covered in garbage, and Mr. Salt has a look of extreme anger on his face. Her predicament and exit of the factory is similar in the 2005 version, minus her mother; the Oompa Loompas instead drop a painting of her mother into the chute in order to emphasize that both of Veruca's parents have indulged her too much, 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 her father are spared immolation and end up leaving the factory, covered with three weeks' worth of foul-smelling trash on the weekly burning day only because the incinerator is broken at the time.
Having learned what he now believes to be a good parenting lesson because of the humiliating and embarrassing ordeal he suffered with his daughter in the chocolate factory, finally fed up with wasting his hard-earned money and his time on his daughter and her copious demands, and being chastised by the Oompa Loompas for overindulging her in the first place, 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. He crossly glares at her after she objects. What becomes of Veruca after this is unknown in the movie itself, but the fanfic The Strange Change of Veruca Salt (taking place in the 2005 movie canon) has her being transferred to another school (Blakehead Park Secondary School) instead of continuing her education at her old school (here named St. Cecilia's School for Girls), living with her aunt for a year, and making friends out of several middle-class English girls and even fellow tour group member Violet Beauregarde. Mr. and/or Mrs. Salt scolding and/or punishing their child(ren) may be used in the theatrical shows if a director wants to show them realizing that they are responsible for overindulging their children. Mr. Salt is depicted as becoming much stricter and rougher to his daughter (at first) in this fan fiction, as a direct result of having learned his lesson in the factory about spoiling Veruca so much and not holding her accountable and punishing her for her rotten behavior. Her mother is similarly depicted, only she is a very neglectful parent, only paying attention to her just enough so the news media gets the image of Mrs. Salt being a good mom when she really isn't. The latest chapter reveals that her father died of a fatal heart attack the very day Veruca returns home to Buckinghamshire. She attends her father's funeral, and another man is chosen to be the company's CEO.
In the 2005 movie, Veruca ends up being the only one of the four rotten children not to be present during her song of morality as she is thrown down the chute beforehand, but her father is instead there to hear every word of it. 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, where he too is deemed a "bad egg". Their ultimate fate is only mentioned at the end of the movie, when Wonka assures Charlie that Veruca will continue to be a spoiled brat, but maybe she will be a bit wiser for the wear.
Veruca Salt songEdit
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 (also used in the theatrical shows) 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. (It is very interesting to note that the 1971 lyrics and musical's lyrics use harpsichord notes in their music.) 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.