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Little Words, Big Ideas
As in many of Roald Dahl's books, the school in Matilda is a terrifying place—a place where adults like the Trunchbull can abuse students both physically and mentally, hurling them out windows, g...
If your definition of the supernatural is limited to ghosts, goblins, and ghouls, you could argue that there's little supernatural stuff happening in this book. Sure, there's a ghost, but there's a...
Awe and Amazement
Either you're awed and amazed by something that's over-the-top cool, or you're awed and amazed by something unbelievably terrible. In Matilda, it goes both ways. We're as awed by the bad behavior o...
Shmoop may be terrified of giant spiders, but we're very thankful we don't have to be afraid of someone like the Trunchbull. We'll leave that fear to the students of Crunchem Hall, who spend their...
It's both fun and scary to be a little kid. There's more potential for magic and wonder everywhere you look. But there's also more potential for danger too. In Matilda, it's not just that grown-ups...
You might think that there wouldn't be much violence in a book that has a five-year-old main character. A kids' book can be scary, but not too scary. Well, you might be surprised at how much violen...
Matilda challenges our understanding of family as something good, loving, and safe. For most of the book, the families that we hear about—Matilda's and Miss Honey's—are downright dreadful. Miss...
Freedom and Confinement
The Trunchbull holds everyone at school captive just by her threatening presence. She can also literally confine people in torture apparatuses like The Chokey, or force them into signing legal pape...
Good vs. Evil
In Matilda, we don't just have one meanie to contend with; we have three. The first one we meet in the book is Matilda's father, Mr. Wormwood, who treats his daughter like an irritating little bug....
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