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Matilda Chapter 4 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.

Every child imagines getting revenge on their parents for something that they've done. Normally after something like this, the child would expect the parent to change, but that's not what Matilda experiences. In this chapter, you'll see her respond to her father's bad behavior again.

Mr. Wormwood's Temper Tantrum

Mr. Wormwood comes home from work in a bad mood. As soon as he enters the living room where Matilda is, the battle begins. At this point, everyone in the house has cleared the room so that he can watch television alone - everyone except Matilda, that is. Even after he turns on the television and turns the sound up loud, Matilda remains in the corner chair, focused on reading her book.

Her ignoring her father, or not paying attention to him, makes him more angry. He yells at her: ''don't you ever stop reading?'' He also snatches the book from her, and ''began ripping the pages out of the book in handfuls.'' Matilda lets him know that the book belongs to the library and that he will have to pay for it. Her father tells her that it will come out of her own money instead of his.

Instead of crying, Matilda thinks of her next step. ''Matilda's wonderfully subtle mind was already at work devising yet another suitable punishment for the poisonous parent.''

Matilda Strikes Again

The next day, Matilda visits her friend Fred and remembers that he has a talking parrot named Chopper. The parrot can say things like ''hullo'' and ''rattle my bones'' in a spooky voice. Matilda convinces Fred to let her take the parrot home for one day by promising to give Fred all of her pocket-money that she will get next week.

After carrying the cage home and sneaking it into the house before everyone gets home, she sticks the cage up the chimney in their dining room. All she has to do is wait until dinnertime for the parrot to start talking.

Family Ghost Hunting

Dinnertime comes, and suddenly Matilda's family hears ''hullo, hullo, hullo.'' Matilda is the only one who knows it's the parrot talking. The rest of the family is startled, or surprised. Matilda's mother says, ''There's something in the house! I heard a voice.'' By this point, the entire family has stopped eating, and Matilda turns the television off.

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