Was Matilda Adopted?

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

In the book 'Matilda' by Roald Dahl, Matilda has a complicated relationship with her parents. Some may wonder whether Matilda is, in fact, adopted. This lesson describes Matilda's relationship with her parents as well as Miss Honey.

Was Matilda Adopted?

Matilda's family life has always been unconventional. In the book Matilda, Roald Dahl explains that most parents think their children are wonderful, even when they're not acting so nicely. But, Matilda's parents don't work that way. Dahl says ''Occasionally, one comes across parents who take the opposite line, who show no interest at all in their children... Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood were two such parents.'' Matilda is unhappy with her life and her parents, and when the opportunity comes to live with Miss Honey, Matilda jumps at the chance. Does moving in with Miss Honey mean that Matilda was adopted, or legally raised by another person, by Miss Honey?

Life with the Wormwoods

There are many different kinds of families. What does family look like for Matilda?

Matilda lives with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, and her brother, Michael. Michael is a normal little boy, but Matilda is a genius. Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood don't recognize this, and treat her like a nuisance rather than their own child. Matilda's father calls her a ''nasty little twit'' and her mother tells her to ''... keep your nasty mouth shut.'' Does that sound like the behavior of parents that truly love their child? After all this torment, Matilda gets angrier and angrier. She decides to get back at her parents.

Matilda begins by secretly putting superglue on her father's hat, which he then puts on and gets stuck to his head! She also tricked them into thinking they were being haunted by a ghost. In addition, Matilda put bleach into her father's shampoo, which turned his hair white after his shower. Dahl says, ''Matilda longed for her parents to be good and loving and understanding and honourable and intelligent.''

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