| Quote #1
It is bad enough when parents treat ordinary children as though they were scabs and bunions, but it becomes somehow a lot worse when the child in question is extra-ordinary, and by that I mean sensitive and brilliant. Matilda was both of these things, but above all she was brilliant. (1.7)
Matilda's parents are the opposite of most ordinary parents, and that makes them all the more awe-inspiring. They're awful. In fact, they're just as extraordinary as Matilda herself is, just in a bad way. Matilda stands out because she's brilliant, and that means her parents stand out because when they look at their genius of a daughter they see a scab and a bunion.
| Quote #2
The father glanced down at the paper in his hand. He seemed to stiffen. He became very quiet. There was a silence. Then he said, "Say that again." (5.30)
Matilda's dad doesn't feel positive amazement here. Instead, he's horrified and stunned that she got the right answer. Rather than marveling at what a genius his daughter is, his immediate reaction is going to be that she must have cheated. He can't stand the thought that she could be smart, let alone smarter than him. What a nice guy, right?
| Quote #3
She looked up. She caught sight of her husband. She stopped dead. Then she let out a scream that seemed to lift her right up into the air and she dropped the plate with a crash and a splash on to the floor. (6.19)
You could say that Mrs. Wormwood's jaw-dropped reaction to Mr. Wormwood's new hairstyle is just as amazing as the hairstyle itself. Her scream is so intense that it makes her levitate. Then there's a tremendous crash as she spills Mr. Wormwood's breakfast all over the floor. Really, don't you think you're being a bit dramatic, Mrs. Wormwood?