| Quote #4
We could have used a sitting room, truth be told. Father would have added one on if he had lived. But he fell off a ladder and died of a broken neck two months after the coffeehouse opened. That's when Grandfather joined us. (2.8)
As we learn here, Matilda's father died in an accident when she was very young (around four years old). Many people have stepped in to fill his shoes. Matilda's mother runs the coffeehouse as a widow, and Grandfather helps out as well. How is Matilda's grandfather also a surrogate father to her?
| Quote #5
"Sending her away – your own child? You shock me. The Ludingtons aren't even family. I can't see the wisdom in that. We'll have to consider this at some length," he said, drawing out his pipe. (5.17)
Grandfather objects to sending Matilda to the Ludingtons' farm because they aren't "family." What does family mean to Grandfather? Is family just about blood relations? A geographical location?
| Quote #6
Giving my mother a bath felt upside down and backside front. I didn't want to do it. Daughters aren't supposed to bathe their mothers, but Eliza could not manage alone. (9.34)
Once Lucille takes ill, Matilda is the one in charge: she must nurse and bathe her own mother. Talk about turning the tables! The roles in the family are changing, which is, of course, all a part of growing up. Because of the fever, though, it's all happening a little sooner than Matilda would have liked.