| Quote #1
She resented being told constantly that she was ignorant and stupid when she knew she wasn't. […] She decided that every time her father or her mother was beastly to her, she would get her own back in some way or another. A small victory or two would help her to tolerate their idiocies and would stop her from going crazy. (2.39)
Okay, Shmoopers. We totally don't condone playing pranks on your parents. But we can't really blame Matilda for her desire for a little revenge. Plus, her real desire here isn't to cause her parents pain, but to get rid of a bit of her own.
| Quote #2
Matilda longed for her parents to be good and loving and understanding and honourable and intelligent. The fact that they were none of these things was something she had to put up with. (5.1)
The narrator clearly wants us to despise Matilda's mom and pop. But does the fact that they are not good, loving, understanding, and honorable make them evil people, or just bad parents? Are they bad news altogether, or just when it comes to family life?
| Quote #3
She was a gigantic holy terror, a fierce tyrannical monster who frightened the life out of the pupils and teachers alike. There was an aura of menace about her even at a distance, and when she came up close you could almost feel the dangerous heat radiating from her as from a red-hot rod of metal. (7.5)
The Trunchbull isn't one of those complex bad guys who have just enough good qualities to be interesting. (Let's just say she's no Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) The Trunchbull is pure evil. Because she's so totally bad, there's no need to feel bad about trying to take her down. If anyone in this book deserves to be punished, it's the Trunchbull.