Matilda Chapter 2 Summary

Instructor: Audrey Akins

Audrey has more than a decade of experience teaching elementary. She has a bachelor's in journalism and a master's in education.

Most kids have parents that teach them to be honest and praise them for how smart they are, but instead, Matilda has a father that is the complete opposite, as we'll find out in this summary of Chapter 2.

Mr. Wormwood

Matilda's father, Mr. Harry Wormwood, is a short man with a moustache. He's described as 'a small ratty-looking man whose front teeth are stuck underneath a thin ratty moustache.' Matilda's mother, Mrs. Wormwood, is the opposite of Mr. Wormwood. She's a large woman with platinum blonde hair, who wore heavy makeup and clothes that looked like they were too tight.

Mr. Wormwood is a car dealer, a person who sells used cars. He fits into the stereotype of what a car dealer is because he uses many dishonest ways of selling cars, vehicles that no one would ever want if they knew the truth about them. For example, he uses sawdust to temporarily make cars run smoother. Another thing he does is roll back the speedometer so that a car that has 150,000 miles looks like it only has 10,000 miles. As Mr. Wormwood says, 'Every single car that comes through my hands gets the treatment...They all have their mileage cut to under ten thou before they're offered for sale.'

Relationship with Children

Despite his blatant, or obviously shady, business practices, Mr. Wormwood is happy with what he has accomplished. In Chapter 2, we learn that his family lives in a very nice house that has three bedrooms upstairs, a dining room, living room, and kitchen. He wears bright-colored suit jackets and ties when he goes to work. When Matilda objects to his way of doing business, he says things such as 'you're an ignorant little twit' and 'you're too stupid.'

Although Matilda disagrees with his way of business, her father doesn't hesitate to teach her older brother Michael the tricks of his trade. He tells him that, 'Customers are there to be diddled.' Michael listens intently and asks questions, which lead Matilda to believe that 'He seemed to have inherited his father's love of crookery. Crookery is Matilda's way of describing her father's dishonest and misleading way of doing business.

Matilda's Final Straw

In Chapter 2, Matilda gets fed up with her father's unkind words and underhanded way of doing business. Throughout the chapter, she acknowledges that what he is doing at work is wrong. She says, 'it's disgusting.' She also looks at what he does as cheating.

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