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Quotes

Quote #1

She gave the hat a sharp yank. Mr Wormwood let out a yell that rattled the window-panes. "Ow-w-w!" he screamed. "Don't do that! Let go! You'll take half the skin off my forehead!" (3.5)

Although Mrs. Wormwood is trying to help her husband, we're thinking she probably could have done so a bit more gently. To be honest, though, Mr. Wormwood's reaction is equally ridiculous and extreme (although, to be fair, he probably wasn't expecting it to hurt so much). Do you think it's more likely that Mrs. Wormwood is surprisingly strong, or that Mr. Wormwood is a total wimp?

Quote #2

"I don't want to know what it's about," Mr Wormwood barked. "I'm fed up with your reading anyway. Go and find yourself something useful to do." With frightening suddenness he now began ripping the pages out of the book in handfuls and throwing them in the waste-paper basket. (4.10)

Ack! To any self-respecting nerd, this scene of a poor, innocent book being torn to shreds by the cruel Mr. Wormwood is absolutely terrifying. What did the book ever do to him? Why does he have such a violent, physical reaction to Matilda's reading? The one good thing here, though, is that he takes it out on the paper, not the person.

Quote #3

"Don't give me that rubbish!" the father shouted. "Of course you looked! You must have looked! No one in the world could give the right answer just like that, especially a girl! You're a little cheat, madam, that's what you are! A cheat and a liar!" (5.36)

Although Mr. Wormwood doesn't touch Matilda, this scene is still really violent. His words and actions are brutal and cruel, and he accuses his daughter of some really nasty things. Don't forget the "especially a girl" comment, either, which shows that Mr. Wormwood thinks men are better than women. So he's belittling Matilda's intelligence in several ways, and you know what that means, folks? This is emotional abuse.

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