Review: “Matilda” by Roald Dahl

Matilda circles around the extraordinary intelligence of a very young girl named Matilda Wormwood.

Already precocious at an early age, Matilda is neglected and verbally abused by her idiotic parents who consider her an ignoramus and a nuisance.  Matilda boldly defends herself against her parents’ invectives in a series of clever tricks that constitute her revenge.  Finding her refuge and solace in classic literature, Matilda is still out of place when she enters primary school.  While the fearsome Miss Trunchbull, the cruel school matron, is every student’s and teacher’s enemy, Matilda finds a compassionate friend in her dedicated teacher, Miss Honey.

Roald Dahl brandishes his wit in this novel on the subject of education and the relationships between parents and their children.  Choosing an impressive reading list for Matilda, the author emphasizes the importance of reading good literature as well as being very selective in one’s choice of books.  Reading is frequently promoted by Dahl as opposed to watching television, an activity which the author apparently loathed.  Justice is dealt to the villains in Matilda by its young protagonist, which is a common occurrence in Dahl’s books for children.  Examples of opposite stereotypes in parents and teachers are prominent in the characters, e.g. Miss Honey, Miss Trunchbull, Matilda’s parents, etc.  Dahl displays his abilities as a satirist in Matilda, but not to such an extent as in some of his other novels for children.

Original review: Part 1: The best of Roald Dahl in children’s literature,


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