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Matilda Chapter 13 Summary
The Weekly Test It's the moment we've been waiting for. The Trunchbull drops in on Miss Honey's class. Sure enough, she starts insulting the students right away, calling them all kinds of names. She examines all their hands for cleanliness, and one little boy, Nigel, has dirty ones. The Trunchbull quizzes him and is furious when he admits that he didn't wash his hands that day. While that's gross, it's not really cause for ridicule, we think. And it gets worse. Nigel has some spilled lunch on his shirt. Nigel's punishment? He has to stand in the corner on one leg. When he's there, she asks him to spell "write." Nigel asks whether she means "write" or "right," and then nails it. This makes the Trunchbull mad. (Of course.) Nigel tries to stand up for himself, by telling the Trunchbull that everyone in the class can spell "difficulty." But the Trunchbull doesn't believe him. She calls on a small girl named Prudence, who spells it right with no problem. Now the Trunchbull is really fired up. She's borderline dangerous. She makes Nigel explain how they learned the word, so Nigel says that Miss Honey taught them a little spelling song, which he then sings. But the Trunchbull thinks it's silly and not in a good way. She forbids Miss Honey from using the same teaching method again. Now it's math time. The Trunchbull's next victim is Rupert. She tells him to multiply two sevens. The poor kid gets it wrong. Furious, the Trunchbull picks him up by his lush blonde hair and waves him around. Rupert screams. We would too. Miss Honey begs for it to stop. The Trunchbull shakes Rupert about until he repeats the right answer, and then dumps him on the ground. The Trunchbull then tells the whole class that children are gross. You know, because that's the kind of inspirational language that best forms young minds. One boy, Eric, points out that the Trunchbull had to have been a kid herself. Poor Eric. This just makes the Trunchbull decide to humiliate him. She makes fun of him and then tells him to spell "what." Can you guess where this is going? Eric tries three times and fails. So the Trunchbull picks him up by his ears, and Eric screams. Miss Honey begs for it to stop all over again. The Trunchbull makes Eric say the right answer, which he does, and then she drops him too. This is the perfect opportunity for the Trunchbull to explain to Miss Honey that her teaching method is the best teaching method. She brings up as a good example of firm teaching and discipline. (If you've never read Nicholas Nickleby Nicholas Nickleby, suffice it to say that the Trunchbull is dead wrong here.) Matilda speaks up to say she's familiar with the book, and the Trunchbull calls her a liar. (Matilda gets this a lot.) While she would like to tell the Trunchbull off, Matilda doesn't. The Trunchbull figures out who Matilda is and that makes things even worse. She has just realized the car Mr. Wormwood sold her is a dud. Even though Mr. Wormwood isn't trustworthy, the Trunchbull believes the lies he's told her about Matilda. She thinks Matilda is real trouble.
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