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by Roald Dahl

Matilda Freedom and Confinement Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

During the first week of Matilda's visits Mrs Phelps had said to her, "Does your mother walk you down here every day and then take you home?"

"My mother goes to Aylesbury every afternoon to play bingo," Matilda had said. "She doesn't know I come here." (1.34-5)

While it might seem like a very bad thing (and it actually is, to be fair), the Wormwoods' lack of interest in their daughter frees her. Matilda can do what she wants in the afternoons because her parents are too busy with their own lives to care. It's sad, but awfully convenient for our budding young reader.

Quote #2

The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village. (1.54)

Books take Matilda out of her home and away from her ridiculous family. If she feels like it, she can hit up India or Africa, or the high seas… it's just a matter of picking the right book. So, the fact that her parents ignore her begins to matter less and less to Matilda. And even though she's pretty much confined to her house, as long as she has books the house never feels like a prison.

Quote #3

Miss Honey stood there helpless before this great red-necked giant. There was a lot more she would like to have said but she knew it was useless. She said softly, "Very well, then. It's up to you, Headmistress." (8.36)

It's not like Miss Honey is being put in The Chokey or dangled upside down by an ankle. The Trunchbull doesn't make grown-up teachers go through such indignities. But the Trunchbull imprisons Miss Honey all the same. Miss Honey is helpless because nothing she can say or do will change the giant's mind. Miss Honey is trapped with the worst boss ever.

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