Aesthetics and the senses / Food and Culture

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This picture is an image captured from “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory”.  In this particular scene, the characters enter into a world made entirely of edible goodies.  Despite the edible “nature” of the world, the scene insights an aesthetic beauty in its representation of other things, that goes beyond taste and intro symbolism.  Though I’m not sure I would classify candy as food, it is indeed edible and incredibly delicious.  However, it is in the delight of the possibilities of the scenery that insight and entertain the movie viewers. The scene at once captures our imagination, and insights in us an intrigue as reality and imagination collide. As Elizabeth Telfer states in “Food as Art”,  this scene is an “unexpected or short-lived phenomenon”.  It captures our senses by the beauty of the imagery, the sensation of the magical, as well as by the sense of perceived taste.


As to whether this man made depiction of a world, made entirely of the edible delights is a “work of art”, it is hard to say.  It is “an artifact primarily intended for aesthetic consideration”, as J.O.Urmson defined in his 1962 article, and it is “treated by that society as primarily an object of aesthetic consideration”.  We would not view this image and have it incite in us our natural sensation towards fulfilling our basic instinct and need for sustenance. Especially as adults, we would not view this world as a place to appease our appetite for food. It would appeal much more to us as sort of guilty pleasure.


This imagery is more inclined to insight the audience to remember their childhood and to remind the audience of the inner child that still resides in them.  It accomplishes this by creating a bridge between our senses and our memories of the pleasantness of childhood and the limitlessness of the imagination. After all, who can forget the beautifully sung “Pure Imagination” song done by Gene Wilder during this scene? 


“Come with me
And you’ll be
In a world of

 Pure imagination
Take a look

 And you’ll see
Into your imagination”


This is only one image from the movie, and so perhaps the real “art” would be the movie in its entirety, or perhaps the individual pieces may also be viewed on their own merit. I’m not sure there is a definitive answer to that though. 



3 thoughts on “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  1. Bridget, I’m curious if you might speak to the “bridge” between our senses and our memories. Joseph Addison, in _Pleasures of the Imagination_, writes: “Everything that is new or uncommon raises a Pleasure in the Imagination, because it fills the Soul with an agreeable Surprise, gratifies its Curiosity, and gives it an Idea of which it was not before possessed.” Might Addison’s insights into imagination reveal some productive way of conceiving of this world of goodies?

  2. I would consider this art, as it obviously left an impression on you that went deeper than its function in furthering the plot of an entertaining story. Besides that, it’s interesting and beautiful! 🙂

    But what really interested me was the question of whether candy is food. After all, it does provide nourishment through its caloric value (although it is of very little nutritive value). But if the definition of food is simply something that provides nourishment through ingestion, is salt a food? After all, a person cannot live without sodium. But I think that few of us would consider candy or salt as real foods.

    What is food?

  3. Bridget, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. I found it very interesting how you tied in food, aesthetic, and imagination (a great recap on last weeks readings)! I also find it interesting how vicki brought up the question is candy food? Candy is not eaten as a necessity, but for pure pleasure, and is even craved to som extent. but still very interesting!

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