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Matilda stuck world bad teachers criminal parents

Matilda was written by Roald Dahl, but significantly improved by a talented editor and publisher, Steven Roxburgh. For half of his writing career, Dahl wrote for adults. Children needed scary stories which spoke to our revenge fantasies, our hatred for certain adults in our lives and our trickster instincts. He was sexist, at best. But of course he was.

Look at the era and milieu into which he was born. Does this come through in Matilda, even after heavy editing? As explained by Jeremy Treglown: As Dahl would sometimes relate, the original version was not at all like [the published book]. She spends the first part of the book inflicting various tortures on her harmless and baffled parents. Only later does she turn out to be clever.

If a female character is terrible, she might still be strong.

Matilda stuck world bad teachers criminal parents

Some of the original Matilda character remains, as she uses her high intelligence to play tricks on her stupider parents, and mostly for the fun of it, and for plain and simple revenge. Matilda, like her father, matilda stuck world bad teachers criminal parents a trickster character, and the most interesting trickster stories involve trickster opponents to outwit the original tricksters. Everyone can relate to it. Miss Trunchbull Miss Trunchbull is another female villain from this story.

Unlike Matilda, The Trunchbull remains villanous. Dahl was to base her new appearance on that of the principal of a horticultural school near Thame, where he and his sisters bought plants. Readers are encouraged to matilda stuck world bad teachers criminal parents fat characters simply for being fat.

Miss Honey It was the editors who made the Miss Honey character a complete goodie. Keen to help, the fascinated Matilda has the idea of using her powerful eyes to fix a race. She practises energetically by knocking over nearby cows and ponies. The two go off to Newmarket and put the money on a 50: It wins Miss Hayes pockets 100,000 pounds, takes them both home in a taxi, and renounces gambling forever.

By now the beginning of the book has been forgotten. Matilda has long ago stopped being naughty, and Miss Trunchbull has disappeared from view altogether. Roxburgh put all these points to Dahl. If they proceeded as before, Dahl would incorporate his suggestions into a new draft, on which the editor would offer further comments, having polished and cut as much as his author would tolerate.

The aptly renamed Miss Honey was built up, meanwhile, into an attractive, sweet-natured, and liberally inclined teacher, a much stronger foil to Miss Trunchbull.

Inevitably there were still roughnesses. But Roxburgh could put all this to Dahl in person at Gipsy House when they discussed what was needed in the final draft. The Rest Is History Except that, as it turned out, this was the final draft. Dahl was tired of being put to so much work. And when financial negotiations began, it became clear that there was a way out. In all the editorial discussions about Matilda, Roxburgh had omitted to make sure that Farrar, Straus and Giroux had a contract with Dahl for the book.

Their confidence in the story as it stood was amply justified. In Britain alone, half a million paperback copies went across the counter within six months. This is a conservative, non-threatening message and no one who reads books really disagrees with it. Roald Dahl went a step further and incorporated a strong anti-TV message, by associating TV viewing with the most despicable characters in the story.

Dahl also slipped this message into Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Mike Teevee and his obsessive pop cultural attitude. I wonder if Dahl watched any TV himself. In any case it was a hypocritical position given that his wife was a film actress and Dahl wrote film scripts.

Steven Roxburgh must have understood — even if Roald Dahl himself did not — that Matilda is functioning as an almost superhero. Matilda works because of the stark good-bad distinction. Yet she is not a Mary-Sue goody-two-shoes character. Part of this must be to do with the fact that she enacts our revenge fantasies. Even as an adult reader, that feeling is there. Being small is a weakness, but one which can always be overcome by wits.

First Matilda gets the better of her parents, then when she starts school she and the other children get the better of The Trunchbull in a similar series of pranks and punks.

Dahl is also a big fan of The Audience Effect to make scenes seem bigger than they would otherwise be. First we have Miss Honey interrogating Matilda, which happens in front of the class. The kindergarten students sit improbably still for this lengthy testing of abilities. A few chapters later we have the forced cake eating scene, which happens on the school stage. Dahl might easily have written a screenplay such as Se7en were he writing in slightly more modern times.

Anything else would be far too horrific. How Scary Is Too Scary? The first chapter in this sequence starts with a chapter that sets up the trick, and ends with the cliffhanger of class about to start.

The Trunchbull is the extreme hyperbolic version of a terrible headmistress — she loathes children. Not only that, she tells them so.

Comedy also comes from The Trunchbull refusing to admit she was ever small or ever a baby.

Matilda Written By – Roald Dahl

This character humour is relatable because children find it hard to imagine the adults in their lives as children themselves. Eric gets his ears stretched — slapstick comedy. The reader was in audience superior position on that one, so feels satisfying. Now the pleasure comes from waiting for the other shoe to drop. As you might have guessed, the newt incident spans three chapters, making use of the Rules of Threes in storytelling.

  • It's gonna be a big day of learning, too;
  • A girl does not get anywhere by acting intelligent.

Importantly, the newt is saved. Matilda simply knocks the glass of water over so that the scary-looking creature tips out. Miss Trunchbull ends defeated, sending the children out into the yard, which she thinks is a punishment but is absolutely no punishment at all. The children are clear winners. Anne of Green Gables has been hugely influential, and has influenced Matilda. Miss Honey herself is a fairytale figure — a rags to riches, put-upon figure.

Basically a Cinderella trope who has gone from upper middle class to outwardly middle class but living in poverty. Right out of a fairytale. We also see indentured slavery in tales such as Rumpelstiltskin. Modern writers have trouble getting parents out of the picture.

So writers need children who are orphans or foster children or who disobediently abscond on some important mission. Even in the 1980s the freedom of childhood was starting to disappear. Yet he lampshades her absence anyhow.

You feel you have something on them. Probably because it has done its work for the story and leaving it there might suggest more in the series to come. Also, readers conservatively value hard work.

Taking away her powers puts her on the same level as the reader in a way. Dahl makes use of a ticking clock technique in the final chapter as Miss Honey and Matilda rush to ask if Matilda can live with Miss Honey rather than escape the police in Spain. The final sentence of the book must be quite disturbing for a child reader — the image of your family zooming away forever. But the wonderful flip side is that Matilda will be much better off.