Study Guide

Matilda Chapter 9

By Roald Dahl

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Chapter 9

The Parents

  • Although there's no help from the administration, Miss Honey will totally figure something out.
  • She collects a bunch of advanced textbooks and brings them to Matilda.
  • The two chat before recess ends, and Miss Honey explains to Matilda that she can spend each class reading these books, while the other students learn more basic stuff.
  • Miss Honey thinks Matilda is awesome—well behaved and polite. It seems like the Trunchbull was totally wrong. 
  • Because she's not someone who gives up easily, Miss Honey decides she'll go see the Wormwoods later and work with them to try and figure something out for Matilda. Maybe tutoring?
  • And why is she doing all this? It's because a student like Matilda makes Miss Honey glad to be a teacher.
  • That very evening Miss Honey heads to the Wormwoods' to speak to them about their daughter. But she soon discovers that the Wormwoods won't be all that much help. When Miss Honey merely mentions Matilda, Mr. Wormwood automatically decides that his daughter must've done something wrong. 
  • Then, like the polite guy that he is, Mr. Wormwood tells her to go away because they want to watch TV. 
  • In a moment worthy of a cheer, Miss Honey tells him to grow up, and calls him out for being a bad parent.
  • When she meets Mrs. Wormwood, she discovers that Matilda's mom is just as bad. In fact, Mrs. Wormwood won't even turn off her TV show; she just hits mute.
  • Although the Wormwoods are both super rude, Miss Honey presses on and tries to explain that Matilda is really smart and talented. Her reading level is so high.
  • But the Wormwoods say it's not their fault, and that reading isn't important at all. They don't value Matilda's achievements, the jerks.
  • Making matters worse, Mrs. Wormwood compares beauty to intelligence and insults Miss Honey, saying she (Mrs. Wormwood) is beautiful and Miss Honey isn't, because Miss Honey is a teacher. (The joke here, as the narrator and Miss Honey observe, is that Mrs. Wormwood is about as far from beautiful as a woman can get. In fact, she's downright hideous.)
  • Overall, Miss Honey is amazed by the Wormwoods' stupidity. 
  • She tries to tell them about Matilda being good at math, to which the Wormwoods say, big whoop. 
  • Even though she knows it's not going to sink in, Miss Honey stresses the value of education before getting out of there.

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