Matilda Chapter 5 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.

By now, Matilda is five years old and knows that although she can play tricks on her parents, the only real strength that she has over them is her brain power. Once again, her intelligence will spark another fight between her and her father.

Mr. Wormwood Wins at Work

Right before Matilda's mother is going to serve the TV dinners that she serves nightly, she and her brother are waiting in the sitting room when her father, Mr. Wormwood, comes home. ''Your father's had the most successful day,'' Mr. Wormwood says. He sold five cars in one day and brags about the profit he made, even though he used his deceptive, or dishonest, tricks that he usually uses to sell them. He tells Michael all about it as if Matilda is not there at all.

Michael Tries Math

In his excitement, Mr. Wormwood wants Michael to know the profit, or the amount of money that he has made this day. ''Seeing as you'll be going into the business with me one day, you've got to know how to add up the profits you make at the end of each day. Go and get yourself a pad and a pencil and let's see how clever you are,'' Mr. Wormwood tells Michael.

Mr. Wormwood proceeds to tell Michael what he paid for every car and how much he sold it for. Michael listens and writes down all the amounts that his father tells him for each car. After Michael has them all written down, his challenge from his father is to ''work out the profit made on each of the five cars and add up the total.''

Instead of this being a math lesson for his son, it's really more about Mr. Wormwood complimenting himself. ''Then you'll be able to tell me how much money your rather brilliant father made altogether today.''

Matilda the Cheat

Mr. Wormwood brags to Michael that it only took him ten minutes to calculate the profit. ''I've practically got a computer inside my head.'' Before Michael can add up the numbers, Matilda enters the conversation. She tells her father the answer, but he doesn't praise her. Instead, he tells her, ''Don't butt in. … Your brother and I are busy with high finance.''

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