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Quotes

Quote #1

I woke to the sound of a mosquito whining in my left ear and my mother screeching in the right.

"Rouse yourself this instant!"

Mother snapped open the shutters and heat poured into our bedchamber. The room above our coffeehouse was not large. Two beds, a washstand, and a wooden trunk with frayed leather straps nearly filled it. It seemed even smaller with Mother storming around. (1.1-1.3)

Matilda has a somewhat antagonistic relationship with her mother, a single parent who works hard to run the family's coffeehouse. What is it about her mother that Matilda finds so difficult to deal with?

Quote #2

I groaned. Mother had been a perfect girl. Her family was wealthy then, but that didn't stop her from stitching entire quilts before breakfast, or spinning miles of wool before tea. It was the War, she liked to remind me. Children did what was asked of them. And she never complained. Oh, no, never. Good children were seen and not heard. How utterly unlike me. (1.7)

The generational difference between mother and daughter widens the gap between their understanding. Clearly! Do you think Mother was really as perfect as Matilda seems to think she was?

Quote #3

We were only three: Mother, Grandfather, and me, plus Eliza who worked for us. But the roomy kitchen could feed one hundred people in a day. My family owned the Cook Coffeehouse. The soon-to-be famous Cooke Coffeehouse, Grandfather like to say. (2.5)

At this point, Matilda's family is very small: it's just Matilda, her grandfather, her mother, and Eliza. They all work together to run the coffeehouse. They're connected by blood and, in a way, by business.

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