Study Guide

Matilda Chapter 20

By Roald Dahl

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Chapter 20

The Third Miracle

  • It just so happens that the day Matilda's plan is ready is also the day the Trunchbull sits in on Miss Honey's class again.
  • Convenient, no?
  • Before the Trunchbull arrives, Miss Honey cautions her class about behavior. 
  • She reminds them of the previous week and checks in with the students who had the hardest time, like Eric, Rupert, and Nigel. 
  • After lunch, the Trunchbull comes in, as scary as ever. She checks her water glass right off the bat and says that any bad behavior will be met with really strict punishment. 
  • Then she moves on to math problems, which spells instant doom for her first victim. 
  • Sure enough, she calls on a poor kid named Wilfred and says he should "recite the three-times table backwards!"
  • Wilfred can't, and Miss Honey doesn't think he should have to. 
  • What Miss Honey thinks doesn't matter though, and the Trunchbull continues torturing Wilfred with more math problems. 
  • They're technically multiplying but they sound like adding. Wilfred is totally confused and can't do it.
  • The Trunchbull, furious, yells at him, picks him up by his foot, and starts shaking him. She's just screaming the right answer when Nigel interrupts her.
  • And this interruption is pretty important. Nigel yells that the chalk is moving independently. 
  • Even the Trunchbull looks at it.
  • The chalk starts writing on the board. 
  • It writes, "Agatha." 
  • This freaks the Trunchbull out completely and totally.
  • Then, the chalk keeps writing, saying "It's Magnus."
  • A knowing Miss Honey sees that Matilda is lit up with special energy.
  • The chalk keeps going, instructing Agatha to return the house and money to Jenny. Then it says Magnus is watching her and will "get [her]" if she doesn't obey. 
  • Oh boy. Everybody else is confused, but the Trunchbull struggles for air and falls over in a dead faint.
  • Taking the initiative, Nigel dumps the whole pitcher of water on the Trunchbull's head, while other kids go to get help.
  • In contrast, Matilda doesn't move, but exults in how amazing she feels and how glorious moving the chalk felt. 
  • Other adults come in, including the matron (who's like a nurse) and other teachers. The teachers joke about how the Trunchbull got what she deserved, and the matron shushes them. 
  • The Trunchbull is removed, and Miss Honey gives her class extra recess. 
  • As the students are leaving, Miss Honey and Matilda embrace. Aw.

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