Saturday, May 14, 2016

Every Day in May: 14


from the novel by Roald Dahl


“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” 

“Sometimes Matilda longed for a friend, someone like the kind, courageous people in her books.”

“She decided that every time her father or her mother was beastly to her, she would get her own back in some way or another. A small victory or two would help her to tolerate their idiocies and would stop her from going crazy.”  


Matilda is a young girl who has been born into the wrong family. While she loves to read and learn, her parents (in the brilliant way that only Roald Dahl can tell it) stand for ignorance, cheating, telly-watching, and every boorish thing you can think of. They think she's four when she tells them she's six and a half and wants to go to school. They want her to stay home so that she can sign for packages. She manages to find an escape at the library where books open a world of possibilities for her.

But school is no better. The children are regularly oppressed by the principal, Miss Trunchbull. Matilda is regularly told she's small and insignificant both at school and at home: "I'm right and you're wrong, I'm big and you're small, and there's nothing you can do about it." Until the one day when she discovers she has magical powers...

So why do we love Matilda? She loves to read. She loves to learn. And she strikes a blow for every person who felt marginalized or belittled for liking something different.

(Note: This is one of the few instances where I think the movie lives up to the book. It's just delightful.)

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