Study Guide

Matilda Chapter 5

By Roald Dahl

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Chapter 5


  • Oy vey. Matilda is having a hard time, because she wishes her parents weren't so awful. 
  • The only thing that keeps her going is her plot of playing revenge pranks. While the parrot-ghost bought her a week of relative peace, it can't last forever. 
  • Soon enough, trouble strikes again. 
  • One night, the family is waiting to have dinner. Mr. Wormwood had what he thinks is a great day at work, because he sold five cars.
  • He makes up a story problem for Mike based on what he bought each car for and resold it at. (Side note: can you imagine if Mr. Wormwood were your math teacher? Yuck.) 
  • Mike tells their dad he's great and smart, and Mr. Wormwood boasts about one of his special marketing tools.
  • Even so, the math is way too complicated for Mike, who writes all the numbers down and can't do the total in his head. 
  • When he starts adding it up, Matilda jumps in with the answer.
  • Obviously, she did it immediately, in her head.
  • Mr. Wormwood just tries to ignore her, but Matilda sticks up for herself and asks him to double-check it.
  • Oh no. Her dad's horrified to discover that Matilda was right, and promptly accuses her of being "a cheat and a liar." He says that Matilda must have sneaked over to see the answer, which he'd written down, but she tells him that it wasn't physically possible.
  • Then, Mrs. Wormwood interrupts everyone, coming in with their food. 
  • At dinner, Mr. Wormwood makes them watch TV, and won't let Matilda defend herself against the idea that she's a cheater.

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