Study Guide

Matilda Chapter 3

By Roald Dahl

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Chapter 3

The Hat and the Superglue

  • Matilda puts her plan into action instantly the next day. 
  • Her dad has this pork-pie hat he wears to work all the time, and he just loves it. 
  • Good taste, right? But Matilda doesn't share it: she sneaks around, gets the hat down from its high perch, and slips Superglue inside of it. 
  • Then she puts it back. 
  • When her dad comes to get the hat moments later, he puts it on and the glue fixes it to his head.
  • Mission accomplished.
  • Too bad for Mr. Wormwood, though; he doesn't realize this until he's already at his job, where he can't do anything about it. As soon as he gets home he tries to make Mrs. Wormwood take it off. Ouch! 
  • Matilda asks about what happened, and even though her father would like to blame his permanent hat on her, even he knows it's unreasonable. He has no proof.
  • Mrs. Wormwood tells Mr. Wormwood that he screwed up and he should be more careful in the future.
  • This only makes him even angrier.
  • So Matilda decides to make him feel even worse by telling him a story about what happened to someone else who got Superglued. 
  • There weren't long-term consequences; he was just really embarrassed.
  • Yep, Mr. Wormwood feels embarrassed, to say the least (his routine is all off, and he has to sleep in his hat).
  • Plus, Mrs. Wormwood thinks he's a goof. His new look is not exactly attractive.
  • The next day, Mr. Wormwood can't take it anymore, so Mrs. Wormwood cuts off as much as they can, and then they cut off some of his hair too. 
  • He looks, uh, bad
  • His loving daughter gets one last dig in by telling her dad it looks like lice, and resolves to keep on disciplining her father like this whenever he's mean to her.
  • That's one prank under her belt. Let's see if she's got some more in mind.

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