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Matilda by Roald Dahl Genre

Instructor: Ellen Woods-Vaughter

Ellen has a bachelor's degree in in elementary education and a master's degree in reading education. Ellen has taught kindergarten for the past 6 years.

In this lesson, you will learn about Roald Dahl's adolescent fiction ''Matilda.'' With a touch of special powers and a sprinkle of humor, this book demonstrates how the fantasy genre entertains and amuses with touches of the unexpected.

An Extraordinary Feature

In Roald Dahl's Matilda, the main character - Matilda Wormwood - lives a very ordinary life. Her family is boring, her life is boring, even her school is mostly boring. But Matilda is an unusual girl who is quite mature for her age - she can read adult books before she even starts formal schooling.

There is also one particularly extraordinary feature about Matilda that sets her apart from other little girls her age. After a particularly cruel and undeserved scolding by her heartless principal, Miss Agatha Trunchbull, Matilda develops the power to move objects with her mind. She uses this power to teach Miss Trunchbull a lesson and win the admiration of the students and teachers.

Matilda's special power is the one critical aspect that clearly defines the book as a fictional story, but beyond that, the classification gets a bit fuzzy. Books and literature are categorized by their different styles, or genres. Let's take a look at the genre of Matilda.

A Touch of Fantasy

Matilda cannot really be classified as science fiction, because the majority of the events, aside from Matilda's occasional display of power, are realistic events. It would be most accurate to describe Matilda as a fantasy. According to the Oxford dictionary, fantasy is ''imagining impossible or improbable things.''

Matilda's special power is the little bit of fantasy that helps Matilda make it through her boring and somewhat harsh existence. Matilda is an ordinary little girl with a fantastic skill. In the fantasy story, the magical or supernatural element intertwines with the commonplace daily existence.

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