How we cite our quotes:
It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful. (1.1)
Of course the first line of the book is immediately undercut by everything we learn about Matilda's no-good parents. Most parents are like this. But Matilda's aren't. They're as extraordinarily awful as she is extra great. For once, the kid actually is wonderful. Yet there's no danger of Matilda's own parents acknowledging that.
[Matilda's] mind was so nimble and she was so quick to learn that her ability should have been obvious even to the most half-witted of parents. But Mr and Mrs Wormwood were both so gormless and so wrapped up in their own silly little lives that they failed to notice anything unusual about their daughter. To tell the truth, I doubt they would have noticed had she crawled into the house with a broken leg. (1.7)
Just what kind of family is this? They have this totally awesome daughter, and yet totally ignore her. Every little kid needs a family, but with parents like this, Matilda might have to go out and find her own. What she's stuck with at home doesn't seem too promising.
"She [my mother] doesn't really care what I do," Matilda said a little sadly. (1.41)
Okay, Matilda might not be sitting up in her room sobbing over it every night, but that doesn't mean she doesn't care that her mom totally ignores her. In fact, we think Matilda probably cares a great deal (what kid wouldn't?), and this little line goes a long way to show it. But the fact that she says it only "a little sadly" shows she's resigned to her parents' behavior. They've always been like that and probably always will be.