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Revisiting ‘Matilda’: The story of an extra-ordinary girl

Matilda by Roald Dahl, is the story of a girl, Matilda Wormwood, born with supernatural powers. Her astonishing mental capabilities astound her classmates and her teacher Miss Honey. From the day she was four years old, Matilda had an undying love for reading books. The library was her sanctuary.

Ms. Phelps, the librarian would sneak out books for her. Within a week, Matilda had finished Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

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Her favourite was the The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Dahl points to her miraculous ability to solve the most complex mathematical problem.

‘I’ve always said to myself if a little pocket calculator can do it, why shouldn’t I’ says Matilda.

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She surprises Ms. Jennifer Honey, who encourages her to use her magical powers to protect the just and punish the unjust.

Enters the headmistress Ms. Trunchbull – a frightening character! In comes Bruce, an obese boy who loves eating chocolate. Ms Trunch bull, gives him a severe punishment for being ‘fat’. She makes him finish an enormous chocolate cake. Bruce is terrified. He cannot eat more. It is here that Matilda defends Bruce and the entire class joins her in the slogan ‘You can do it Bruce’.

Ms. Trunchbull is both startled and angry. She is thoroughly humiliated. Well serves you right, you monster!

Matilda is born to the Wormwoods, who cannot comprehend her exceptional abilities.

Her mother, a fashionista, is a comical character. An emblem of absurdity, Mrs. Wormwood is least concerned about her daughter. With a painted face and rolled hair, she is an empty vessel. However, she does give one important piece of advice.

‘What good are books if a girl is not pretty?’ The advice though is only half correct! Beauty and brains go hand in hand.

When Ms. Honey comes to talk about the genius of Matilda, Mrs. Wormwood snaps at her saying:

‘You choose books, I choose looks.’

Matilda’s mischievous behavior sends the audience into fits of laughter. The funny episode where she puts superglue in her father’s hat puts a grin on the reader’s face. When Mr Wormwood comes home, his wife tries to yank his hat off, pulling off all his hair!

Haha! Cheeky Matilda! Children burst into giggles. Matilda’s naughty antics and gleaming eyes make the children chuckle.

Another astonishing thing Matilda can do is come up with limericks. When Ms. Honey asks her to make one about her, she does so instantly:

‘The thing we will ask about Jenny
Is surely there cannot be many
Young girls in the place
With so lovely a face
The answer to that is not any.’

Dahl took six to eight months to write the book. He edited it until he was finally happy with it. Kudos to Dahl for coming up with an original and creative storyline.

With the illustrations by Quentin Blake, Matilda is an exciting and amusing character that is simple and delightful. Dahl has a great imagination. Just like his other books, my favourite being Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Matilda too sparks curiosity and interest in the reader’s mind.

In both stories, there is a magical world at play. Whilst in Matilda, it is the character herself, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it is Mr. Wonka, the Oompa Loompas and the Factory that is unreal!

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