When life is problematic, Matilda becomes energetic.
Matilda by Roald Dahl is one of the best works that contains humor, life lessons as well as violence. The book is titled after the protagonist who is a child prodigy. She’s a four year old girl that lives with her ignorant family and therefore, learns to do everything on her own. Her true adventure begins when she steps out of the house to get books from the library. From the very beginning, Matilda’s life remains daunting and serious. Regardless of the critical subject, the author was successful in keeping it comical and frivolous. Although, school is illustrated as a horrendous place but it is certainly the best thing ever happens to Matilda. Likewise, the headmistress, Mrs. Trunchbull has some good qualities despite how menacing she appears to be.
As it is obvious, Matilda is the protagonist of this book and her parents Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood are the first antagonist we meet. For her parents, “she is a bad seed,” especially for her father. The atmosphere of the house is completely daunting due to her parents’ unkind behavior towards Matilda. It is an isolated place to be and even her only sibling dislikes her for being different. In short, she is lonely in that house despite her family members around. Matilda’s life remains problematic because of her parent’s aggressive behavior. Mrs. Wormwood doesn’t shower any motherly love for her daughter. Apparently, she only cares about money and spending them recklessly. Besides that, Mr. Wormwood calls Matilda offensive names like, “you’re too stupid,” (Dahl 22) and constantly tries to put her down. For instance, when Matilda and he were having a discussion she says, “I don’t see how sawdust can help you to sell second-hand cars, daddy” (Dahl 22). Her father replies, “That’s because you’re an ignorant little twit” (Dahl 22). Mr. Wormwood constantly tries to prove that she is ignorant and stupid.
In addition, Mr. Wormwood discriminates between his two children. One day when he returns from the garage, he sees Matilda reading in the living room by a corner. He instantly gets mad. He switches on the TV to distract her but it does not affect her. “She kept right on reading, and for some reason this infuriated her father. Perhaps his anger was intensified because he saw her getting pleasure from something that was beyond his reach” (Dahl 39). This explains that his anger derives from the fear of losing control since book is beyond his reach. The father is afraid of her brilliance because she represents the worth he’s not recognized. Therefore, his anger derives from jealousy because he envies Matilda’s worthiness.
Ironically, the father is portrayed as envious to his own child. The father despises Matilda because she loves to read, something that no one else does in the family. This makes her different from the rest of them. Mr. Wormwood likes his son better because Michael shows interest in his work and asks questions continuously. He realizes that his son would hold his business after him. Michael’s enthusiasm makes Mr. Wormwood feel worthy which Matilda’s comments doesn’t. Therefore, he pretends that Matilda knows nothing but nonsense. For example, in the “Arithmetic” section, he makes up a problem for Michael and tells him to write all the numbers down. Even after writing it down, it was too complicated for him. While Michael couldn’t solve the problem Matilda did it instantly in her head. Then, she shouts with the answer. At first, Mr. Wormwood ignores her but startled when he realizes that she’s right. Though, he immediately calls her a “little cheat and a liar” (Dahl 55). He denies acknowledging the fact that Matilda is special and much wiser than Michael.
Although, Mr. Wormwood’s behavior toward Matilda reveals that he does secretly wish to read and have knowledge like his daughter. Matilda compels him to recognize that the job he does is deceitful and corrupted. But, he doesn’t want to admit this to his five year old and give her the satisfaction of being right. Also, Mr. Wormwood perceives her as useless because of being a girl. In his opinion, being intelligent threatens the way the family views the world. Though, he’s ashamed of himself since he knows what he’s worth and therefore, mistreats Matilda for having such intelligence instead of praising her for it. Besides that, Matilda’s family does not define what a family should be. The parents are occupied with their life and least concerned with their children’s. They are disregardful about sending their kids to school for an education. They also display favoritism toward one child and hatred toward another. The parents abuse the power of being an adult and they represent an imperfect model of grownups to their children.
Generally, when we think of a family, we refer to it as supportive, affectionate and protective etc. But Matilda’s family has none of these qualities and so does Miss Honey’s whose aunt is Mrs. Trunchbull. Both of these characters are mistreated by their immediate family. This challenges our perception of what an ideal family is. However, Matilda and Miss Honey’s relationship depicts a true family due to the love and respect they share and the way they support one another in need.Finally, we get to meet the entertaining character of the book, Mrs. Trunchbull. She brings colors to Matilda’s story and without her presence; Matilda’s life wouldn’t be complete and meaningful. Since children use their imagination a lot, Dahl utilizes this character in such an impeccable way so that she remained both villain and a main source of entertainment. The author depicts a story in which a chain of events occur while the readers are diverted through an amusing character like Mrs. Trunchbull. Basically, Matilda’s parents are portrayed as imprudent and school is portrayed as a place of violence.
Students including teachers always remain in fear due to the cruel headmistress in the school. Even though Mrs. Trunchbull frightens everyone but she teaches important moral lessons to the readers. We learn that even the most horrifying person like her can be made to feel scared. Everyone is scared of something right? Nobody dares to confront Mrs. Trunchbull or dispute with her until our brave Matilda comes along. Not only has she tried to defend herself but also her classmates and teacher.Despite the fact that the school and the principal are both dreadful but they helped Matilda in significant ways to explore her power and identity. If Matilda hadn’t come to school, she wouldn’t have met a Teacher like Ms. Honey who recognizes Matilda’s talents and a sweet friend like Lavendar. Most importantly, she wouldn’t meet a greater villain than her father, Mrs. Trunchbull.
Due to Mrs. Trunchbull’s bitter words and actions, Matilda learns to speak up and defend herself. The obstacles caused by the principal do add to the problems in Matilda’s life but it also makes her strong and sensible in many ways.Matilda makes the discovery of her telekinetic powers for the first time when she is provoked by Mrs. Trunchbull in the classroom and uses her strength of mind to break the glass. It was only possible by the headmistress to make Matilda recognize her full potential. And soon Matilda begins to use her powers to chase off Mrs. Trunchbull from the school. At last, Matilda and Miss Honey come together and forms a happy family based on love and understanding. We learn great morals and this one is my favorite. A family is not the one you’re born into but the one you make.
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