Study Guide

Matilda Chapter 11

By Roald Dahl

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Chapter 11

Bruce Bogtrotter and the Cake

  • After seeing the headmistress in action, Matilda and Lavender talk about how outrageous and evil the Trunchbull is.
  • While Lavender thinks parents would stop the Trunchbull if students complained, Matilda explains that the Trunchbull can act so mean and get away with it because she is so over the top. No one would believe that she actually does the terrible things she does. 
  • The following day, the students have to go to a special assembly, which is being held so that Trunchbull can punish a kid named Bruce Bogtrotter in front of everyone. 
  • The Trunchbull calls Bruce up to the stage at the front of the room. Bruce is very worried, but does as she says. 
  • In front of the entire school, Trunchbull accuses Bruce of being awful and terrible, a complete degenerate (that is, someone who's completely corrupt and immoral). 
  • Then, the Trunchbull accuses Bruce of snatching some of her own secret chocolate cake stash. 
  • Bruce denies taking the cake, but the Trunchbull has a witness: the school cook. Uh oh. That means Bruce is in hot water. 
  • At first it seems like Bruce is no match for the headmistress, the poor guy. The Trunchbull fools him into confessing by asking him if the cake tasted good, and says he should pay his respects to the cook. 
  • When the cook comes out, Bruce tells her how the cake tasted.
  • After that, the Trunchbull asks the cook if Bruce can have some more cake. This can only lead to bad things.
  • The cook brings forward an enormous chocolate cake, over a foot and a half across, and the Trunchbull tells Bruce the cake is for him. 
  • But Bruce doesn't want to eat a bite. What if it's poisoned? What if it explodes? That's what all the other kids watching are thinking.
  • Eventually, he has no choice but to take a bite of cake.
  • He eats a small piece and nothing bad happens. It's just cake.
  • The problem is, the Trunchbull says he has to keep eating it. 
  • Bruce tries to politely refuse, but she forces him to keep eating, saying he has to eat the whole cake. 
  • Matilda, Lavender, and the other kids watching think this is never going to happen. The cake is way too large. 
  • And it seems like it isn't going to work, as Bruce makes it through one more slice and stops.
  • However, the Trunchbull says he has to keep eating without stopping or she'll put him in The Chokey. 
  • So Bruce tucks in. It's almost like he's a competitive eater or something. He excels at this.
  • Most people wouldn't, though. Lavender thinks he'll be sick.
  • He makes it halfway through and stalls to burp in an enormous fashion. Then he keeps going.
  • The audience gets more and more excited. Before they were worried, waiting for the punishment to take its toll. But now, it's like they sense there's a real possibility for him to make it. 
  • That'll show the Trunchbull. 
  • One person shouts encouragement and the Trunchbull screams for quiet.
  • Bruce is three-fourths there, and Lavender and Matilda are excited. 
  • All eyes are on Bruce, who finally eats the whole cake, and after that the auditorium explodes in delight.
  • Furious, the Trunchbull smashes the empty cake plate over Bruce's head (he's unhurt), before storming off.

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