Study Guide

Matilda Chapter 19

By Roald Dahl

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Chapter 19

The Practice

  • At home, Matilda has the place to herself, which is perfect for what she wants. 
  • She borrows one of her dad's cigars and shuts herself in her room.
  • What she's doing has something to do with helping Miss Honey, but we don't know the specifics yet.
  • Matilda makes a little space for the cigar and sets to work concentrating on her special mental power to make it move.
  • The movement's even easier this time and the cigar moves quickly. So Matilda challenges herself more. She wants to pick up the cigar with her mind.
  • This is a lot harder than pushing it. She has to work really hard. 
  • After all, as anybody who's ever attempted telekinesis knows, it takes serious effort. Shmoop knows. We've tried.
  • After a while, Matilda picks the cigar up just a little, just for a moment. She keeps doing it. Eventually she can keep it in the air for sixty seconds. She's that awesome.
  • But this is hard work. It wipes her out and she falls asleep, just like that. Her mom has to wake her up for dinner.
  • Matilda perseveres, and for a whole week, she works on moving the cigar with her mind. 
  • Pretty soon, she's excellent at moving the cigar in swirls and loops through the air. 
  • She decides she's ready.

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