Talk:Matilda (novel)

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What's with the etymology? Interesting, but I don't think it's at all relevant.

similarities with BFG[edit]

i don't know how to do it, but i think that this particular section should be merged into the roald dahl section about children books themes. [asd[User:B cubed|b_cubed]] 05:19, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Plot note[edit]

Part of the Trunchbull's fright when the message is written on the board is that it contains the line 'I'll kill you like you killed me' (approximately. Is this relevant? Should it be put in the synopsis? 22:06, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

  • "I'll GET you like you got me", it was. And I've added it.

Differences in the film adaptation[edit]

There is nothing ironic about the fact that the book focuses more on the importance of books, so I took that word out.

I couldn't think of a reason to include a massive list of all possible changes in the article, so I trimmed and rewrote the section. The old one was quite impressive, so I'm preserving it here to delight information freaks, such as most of us. --Kizor 02:38, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

  • The book takes place in the United Kingdom, while the film takes place in the United States.
  • The film shows the first instance of Matilda's genius by having her write her name in the creamed/strained spinach she spread on the counter. Her mother completely ignores this, placing her in the sink to be washed and wiping part of the mess on the counter with a sponge, meanwhile complaining about the mess. In the book, Matilda's first instance of genius comes when she asks her father for a book, but her father says that she's being spoiled.
  • In the film Matilda's older brother bullies and demeans her in a similar manner to her parents. In the book her brother is nicer to her, and doesn't particularly pick on her, even waving goodbye to his sister when he and his parents leave. He is mentioned to have inherited his father's desire to make money dishonestly, however.
  • In the book Matilda's mother is described as plump-to-overweight, and her father is described as skinny. In the film their body shapes are reversed, however they retain their hair colors.
  • For much of the film, she is six-and-a-half, while in the book she is a little over five years old. When Matilda said she wanted to go to school, her father tells her she can't go because she's four (to which Matilda corrects him by stating that she's six and a half). When she corrects him, he doesn't believe her and takes her to her mother, who says she is four. When Matilda protests that she is six-and-a-half, her mother says, "Five, then."
  • In the book, when Miss Honey speaks with Matilda's parents on her genius, Matilda's mom is watching a soap opera. In the film, she (and the rest of the family) are watching a boxing match.
  • In the film, two police detectives (or FBI agents) are keeping a watch on the house, disguised as speedboat salesmen. Matilda is aware as to who they really are, though her parents don't believe her when she insists they are police (and Matilda's dad yells at them for trying to hit on his wife). She catches them snooping around and uses her powers to distract them by making their car roll down the street so she can take their videotape of evidence.
  • Matilda does not play the parrot prank on her parents in the film. She plays the other two pranks, though the super glue incident is done at her father's shop after she argues with him over his dishonest ways of repairing the cars.
  • In the book, Amanda Thripp is 10 years old, whereas in the film, she is the same age as Matilda. She also wears glasses.
  • Nigel Hicks, one of Matilda's classmates, is not in the movie at all. The focus is instead on Amanda Thripp, who instead tells the Trunchbull the poem Miss Honey used to teach the class how to spell the world "difficulty".
  • In the film, Lavender Brown is African-American and wears glasses.
  • Lavender Brown's putting the newt into the Trunchbull's drinking water was planned well ahead of time in the book. In the film it is done on the spur of the moment.
  • In the film, Matilda is aware that Lavender put the newt in the Truchbull's water, having been there when it was captured and reading information about it from a book before school started. She does not betray Lavender and later, when Lavender thanks her for not telling, says, "Best friends don't tell."
  • In the film, the Truchbull gets angry over Mr. Wormwood selling him a bad car and takes it out by locking Matilda in "The Chokey." Lavender informs Miss Honey, who then rescues Matilda and brings her back to class. In the book, Matilda never goes to The Chokey, but she is yelled at by Miss Trunchbull because of Mr. Wormwood selling Miss Trunchbull a bad car.
  • In the movie, the classroom has colorful projects and such on the walls and bullentin boards, but before Miss Trunchbull's weekly visit, it all has to be hidden by boring maps and a list of the rules. The regular chalkboard also has to be covered by another board. The desks are usually in groups of four, but during Miss Trunchbull's visits, they are in rows.
  • In the film version when Miss Trunchbull hurls the pigtailed girl over the fence, the girl lands safely gathering flowers for class. In the book version, she lands flat on her face and is hurt.
  • Miss Honey's poverty is not addressed, and she appears to live fairly comfortably in her small cottage. No mention is made of having to pay money to Trunchbull, but her domination at school by her aunt suggests some sort of indentured servitude arrangement.
  • Matilda's practice of her new-found powers is very much played up in the film version, with her manipulating pretty much every object in the house after practicing making a bowl of cereal for herself (then dancing around the living room and making every object fly around her). In the book, Matilda practices by making a cigar levitate, then passes out on her mother's bed after exerting so much energy. Also, Matilda summons her powers in the film by thinking of the many times she was yelled at and mocked by her parents, her brother, and Miss Trunchbull. In the book, she concentrates her powers by quietly commanding herself to move the object in question.
  • In the film, Matilda decides to sneak in the Truchbull's house when she sees her leave. Miss Honey is forced to go in after her and shows the special box of chocolates, her old room, and doll her mother left her, named "Lissy Doll." Miss Trunchbull returns while Matilda and Miss Honey are in the house and realizes that someone has come in upon noticing the lid to the chocolate box is awry. She looks about the house and almost catches Matilda, but Miss Honey provides distraction every time. The two leave and Matilda promises never to go inside the house again. Later she returns, but doesn't go in. She climbs on the roof of the shed and uses her powers to get Lissy-doll. She also scares the Trunchbull by making the lights go on and off by shaking the wires, making the clock strike every few minutes, making the painting of Miss Trunchbull fall in the fireplace and be burned, and replacing the painting with one of miss Honey's father, Magnus. Matilda also retrieves two chocolates from the box, eating one and giving the other to Miss Honey the next day. Matilda's ribbon gets blown away and when Miss Trunchbull tries to flee, she finds it and realizes that someone, probably Matilda, is the one responsible for everything.
  • Trunchbull's reaction to the chalkboard incident is a momentary faint from which she quickly recovers in the film version. She then decides that a boy in the class must be responsible, and throws him out the window. Matilda uses her powers to help the boy fly in a circular path, returning through the same window. He impacts Trunchbull, throwing her against a large globe which Matilda then causes to spin wildly. Trunchbull falls, then attempts to seize Lavender, whom Matilda rescues. Trunchbull's momentum causes her to crash through the classroom door into the school hall, where the entire student body taunts her and throws food at her, driving her from the school in hysterics. During this scene, Bruce Bogtrotter gets his own little revenge for the chocolate cake routine by forcing a slice of his Mum's cake in the Trunchbull's mouth. In the book, Miss Trunchbull faints, is taken to the hospital, and is never seen or heard from after that.
  • Near the end of the film, the Wormwoods flee to Guam instead of Spain.
  • Also, at the end, Matilda retains her powers, but rarely uses them and only for trivial things, such as fetching books from the shelf. In the book, she could not use her powers anymore after the showdown with Trunchbull. Miss Honey explained it as after Matilda was moved to the top class, her power was focused on studying harder material.
  • Near the end of the book, when the Wormwoods tell Matilda they are moving to Spain, they tell her while they are packing their suitcases at home. In the film, when they tell Matilda they are moving to Guam, they tell her as they try to pick her home at the house given to Miss Honey by her aunt, the Trunchbull.
  • When the Wormwoods flee to Guam, Miss Honey was surprised at the situation, as if she did not expect it to happen. However, in the book, when the Wormwoods flee to Spain, she knew that the family would sooner or later get in trouble by the police.
  • In the book, Miss Honey says that her given name is Jenny. In the film, "Magnus" calls her by the pet name "Bumblebee".
  • In both the book and film Matilda chooses to stay behind and live with Miss Honey. However, in the film version, Matilda suggests to her parents that they let her be adopted by Miss Honey and shows them adoption papers that she Xeroxed on her many trips to the library when she was younger. Also in the film version, Matilda's mother almost feels sorry that she has to leave her daughter, stating that she never understood her (implying that despite the neglect and abuse, Matilda's mother actually cared about her), but decides that adoption is the best option for someone like her. In the book version, the family says that Matilda can stay behind almost dismissively (and don't sign any adoption papers), and while her brother does wave good-bye as they leave her parents "do not even look back" (in the film version, Matilda's mom yells goodbye while her father drives away quickly, telling his wife to shut up).
  • In the book, when the Wormwoods are moving to Spain, her father tells her. In the film, when the Wormwoods are fleeing to Guam, her mother tells her.
  • In the book the deputy head becomes head of the school after learning of Miss Trunchbull's disappearance, while in the film Miss Honey is hired as the head of the school.
  • In the film, the school went up to the 12th grade because people never wanted to leave. In the book, it's implied that the school only goes up to fifth or sixth grade.
  • In the book, one of the boys gets thrown out the window for eating Licorice Allsorts during a Bible study class; in the movie, the boy was thrown out the window for eating M&M's in a literature class.
  • Throughout the book Matilda reads Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, while in the film she reads Moby Dick by Herman Melville. In the scene where Matilda's father rips her library book, the book he rips is "The Red Pony" by John Steinbeck (stating that it's garbage because it's written by an American author), but in the film version, it's "Moby Dick" (the reason being that he's sick of Matilda not watching TV during dinner just like they do, resulting in the TV blowing up as Matilda is forced to watch).
  • In the book Miss Honey wears glasses, but she does not in the film at all, except once as reading glasses to check a math problem Matilda answered.
  • In the book Miss Honey is a blond, but in the movie, she is shown as a brunette.

Lavender Brown?[edit]

I can't find where her surname is mentioned in the book. Has someone perhaps confused her with the Harry Potter character? 19:38, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

I toatally love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*************************************************************!!**

Miss Trunchbull redirected[edit]

It looks like the Miss Trunchbull article was recently changed to redirect here, which deleted about 8k of text. If anyone is interested in adding bits of the former Miss Trunchbull to this article, I've copied the text below (with some modifications to the section headers). Please feel free to incorporate this text, or perhaps undo the change of the Miss Trunchbull article to a redirect. Lisatwo 02:13, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Agatha Trunchbull, also known simply as "the Trunchbull", is the fictional headmistress of "Crunchem Hall Primary School" in Roald Dahl's book Matilda, said to look "more like an eccentric and rather bloodthirsty follower of the stag-hounds than the headmistress of a nice school for children." She is a harsh, cruel educator and tyrant, and this, together with Matilda's unfair treatment from her parents is perhaps why the book has remained popular among children, as something that the reader may be able to relate to.

The Trunchbull, as she is known, is "a fierce tyrannical monster who frightens the life out of the pupils and teachers alike". It is unclear how she ever came to be a teacher, as she has no interest in the health, welfare or education of children so much in relation to punishing them. She even expresses some disappointment when a child answers a question correctly. Her idea of detention is to keep badly-behaved children in a horrific torture device which is called "The Chokey" (which is essentially a closet that's filled with sharp blades) or swings them in the air, often without any evidence they have actually committed a crime or simply because she does not like them. She is an avid athlete and former Olympian, and is known for her skills in the hammer throw. It is also hinted that she has practiced karate or judo. Indeed, the only Health and Safety standards she seems to acknowledge as far as her students are concerned is that she must not hit them with the riding crop that she often carries around.

It is her custom at Crunchem Hall to cover for a class for one lesson in each week. After making one boy stand on one leg in the corner, holding up another by the hair and yet another by the ears, she finally meets her match in the form of two girls in the class: Lavender and the central character, Matilda. Lavender had placed a newt in the Trunchbull's jug of water and thereby startled her as she was pouring the contents into a glass. Eager to find someone to blame and furious at having lost face in front of the children, she accuses Matilda. Whilst simmering at the injustice of this, Matilda stares at the glass and, it seems, causes it to fall of its own accord and empty its contents- newt and all- over the Trunchbull, thus enraging (and mystifying) her into leaving the room.

The one member of staff at Crunchem Halls that seems to fear the Trunchbull above all is Miss Jennifer Honey. It transpires that the Trunchbull is her aunt, and had raised her on the death of her parents, putting her through psychological and possibly even physical torture. She also managed to get possession of Miss Honey's late father's house by forging a document of his will, knowing her niece could not contest it because she didn't have the money- she having been forced to sign away her salary into the Trunchbull's bank. On learning this, Matilda practices her new-found gift at moving objects just by looking hard at them privately, at home. When the Trunchbull comes, the following week, to take her cover lesson, Matilda causes some chalk to rise up in the air and write on the blackboard a message that she pretends is being caused by the ghost of Miss Honey's father, closing it with the ominous words: "I am watching you, Agatha."

Thus traumatized, the Trunchbull leaves the school and district forever. She also returns Miss Honey's wages and reveals her father's true will and testament, that the house she had been living in had in fact been left to Miss Honey all along. A newer, nicer teacher, the previous deputy, is pronounced headmaster (in the movie, Miss Honey becomes the principal of the school), and the school is consequently much happier. Matilda is later moved to the top form, where her academic potential is appreciated.

Some of the Trunchbull's more bizarre (though abusive) treatment of pupils include:

  • Throwing a girl across the playground for wearing pigtails.
  • Throwing a boy out of a window for eating "Liquorice Allsorts" (M&Ms in the movie version) during a lesson.
  • Forcing a boy (Bruce Bogtrotter) to eat a whole 18 inch chocolate cake because he stole a slice of cake from the Trunchbull's tea tray. (This may not count as abuse, however, because he apparently enjoyed it.)

This leads Matilda to speculate that the reason parents never try to challenge the headmistress over her behavior is because their children's story would sound too ridiculous to be believed (the movie scene where the Trunchbull forces the entire school to stay five hours after school for encouraging Bruce Bogtrotter to finish the chocolate cake serves as a plothole, since the parents would have surely wondered about the whereabouts of their children). Also, aside from Lavender's practical joke with the newt and Matilda's haunting, she apparently, in previous years, received punishment from an older girl, Hortensia, who put treacle on her seat in the school's assembly-hall, and itching powder in her gym-knickers. For both these practical jokes, Hortensia was locked in The Chokey.


Although exceedingly hard to please at the best of times, aside from bullying children, the Trunchbull does in fact have some interests. These include:

  • Matilda's father (until she realizes the second-hand car he sold her is in fact run with sawdust).
  • The "admirable" headmaster Wackford Squeers in Charles Dickens' book Nicholas Nickleby, because of his own mistreatment of children.
  • Keeping her muscles in shape.


Aside from her niece Miss Honey, the Trunchbull is displeased by a great many things in her little world. These include:

  • Clever people.
  • Stupid people.
  • Small children.
  • Large children.
  • The childrens' parents.
  • Girls with pigtails.
  • Boys with long hair.
  • Children too large to use as a shotput.
  • The spelling-poem "Mrs. D, Mrs. I, Mrs. FFI,/ Mrs. C, Mrs. U, Mrs LTY", primarily on the grounds that all the women are married.
  • People who challenge her immense toughness.
  • After her ordeal with Lavender's interference with her jug of water, newts.


The character of Miss Trunchbull may be based on several members of staff Dahl experienced from his own school-days- among them, most obviously, a preparatory school matron, as described in his autobiography Boy.

She is played by Pam Ferris in the 1996 film version of Matilda, and in a UK story-tape version of the same story, she was voiced by Peggy Mount.


"Squashing a bad girl is like trying to squash a bluebottle. You bang down on it and the darn thing isn't there."

(When trying to guess what's so special about Matilda) "I suppose she set fire to your skirt and scorched your knickers."

"I wish to heavens I was still allowed to use the birch and the belt as I did in the good old days. I'd have roasted Matilda's bottom for her so she couldn't sit down for a month!"

"What a bunch of nauseating little warts you are!"

(To a boy named Eric Ink:) "You may be Ink, young man, but let me tell you something: you're not indelible."

(To Amanda Thripp, prior to grabbing her by her pigtails and throwing her a la "throwing the hammer"): "I don't give a tinker's toot what your mummy thinks!"

"My idea of a perfect school is one that has no children in it at all. One of these days I'll start up a school like that. I think it will be very successful."

"I don't like small people. I can't for the life of me understand why they take so long to grow up. I think they do it on purpose."

"Oh do shut up, Miss Honey!"

"When you've been teaching for as long as I have you'll see that it's no use at all being kind to children."

(On Wackford Squeers and his pupils:) "He kept their backsides so warm you could have fried eggs and bacon on them."

"I suppose your mothers and fathers tell you you're wonderful. Well, I'm here to tell you the opposite, and you'd better believe me."

"I'm fed up with you useless bunch of midgets!"

"Matilda! Stand up!"

Quotes from the film only[edit]

"You! Detention."

"Fresh meat!"

"Got you! Right in the neck!"

"Much too good for children!"

"I'm smart; you're dumb. I'm big; you're small. I'm right; you're wrong. And there's nothing you can do about it."

Lisatwo, the last "movie quote", as I remember, came from the mouth of Mr. Wormwood. I do hope you could improve it. Pokemon Buffy Titan (talk) 12:07, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Character Articles[edit]

Can I produce some character articles?--RoryReloaded (talk) 08:21, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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BetacommandBot (talk) 14:31, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Matilda Wormwood[edit]

Well this is silly. It was seen fit to merge the substantial article on Miss Trunchbull with this one, and yet Matilda Wormood has a piddly little one of her own. Where's the reasoning there? Not050 (talk) 18:57, 29 January 2008 (UTC)Not050

Original Plans Section[edit]

I was wondering if we could include the original plans for the book. I found it long ago, but I think the link is on I really don't remember, but I do remember that Roald rewrote the book so much the whole plotline changed. Pokemon Buffy Titan (talk) 12:01, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

It's sad[edit]

because this book/movie was great, but the article is not. The plot summary rambles in places, and there is just too much speculation and repetitiveness, like "Possibly the most dramatic form of eye-power attributed to any of Roald Dahl's characters is The Grand High Witch from The Witches - although they are of a far more dangerous nature and the character would most likely have more sympathy with Miss Trunchbull's attitude towards child justice."Not even Mr. Lister's Koromon survived intact. 01:43, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Yeah. And I actually think KrytenKoro's being somewhat diplomatic. I'm not sure what to make of most of the syntax in the below (only one of several similar excerpts):
The final confrontation with Trunchbull turns into a match of
overt physical force versus mental powers, powers she retains to use
for trivialities. In contrast, characters in the book never lose
their sense of awe and a degree of fear about dealing with forces
larger than human. In the book, Matilda's triumph is moving a piece
of chalk well enough to write a few dozen words, at the cost of
considerable drain to herself, and she loses her abilities afterward
while in the film it is suggested that although she doesn't need her
powers as much, they will always be with her as she moves a book with
her powers. The characters' working theory is that her mental capacity
is now being expended in her schooling.

Sugarbat (talk) 21:15, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Further Reading[edit]

Why is Hilaire Belloc's Matilda linked in the Further Reading section? This article is solely about Dahl's Matilda, and does not even mention Belloc's Matilda. Neither would make sense as being inspired by the other, either: the poem is about a girl who tells lies and then is disbelieved when she says her house is burning down (like Peter and the Wolf) and the novel is about an ordinary girl with superpowers who uses them for good. -- (talk) 14:58, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I can only assume it's a leftover from an edit which was later removed. The entry on Hilaire Belloc does mention that Dahl was a fan, and it's entirely possible that Belloc's poem influenced the book - but if so, it should be made clear in the body of the article. I've removed the link until somebody can provide more context and a source. Ravenclaw (talk) 02:54, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Crossing with Wole Soyinka's 'Aké'[edit]

The scene with the cake and Bruce Bogtrotter bears similarities with the scene of Á Keenzy and the acting headmaster, especially with regard to the public punishment before an assembly and the cheering at the end. Perhaps it is an acknowledgement by Dahl for the inspiration of a young bookish child struggling to thrive in a non-bookish environment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by AbrahamCat (talkcontribs) 12:23, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

"Lissy Doll"[edit]

I've never read the book but this doll of Miss Honey's is mentioned in the film. Has anyone noticed the similarity between the words "Lissy Doll" and "Liccy Dahl", Roald Dahl's wife? Do you think that they named the doll that on purpose?

The Doll was deliberately named Lissy after Roald Dahls Wife Liccy. If you look at the credits at the end of the film, it shows the Produced by list Liccy Dahl is the 4th person to be credited as a Producer.