Meet our title character, Matilda . . . an intelligent little girl who decides to take on her parents and the worst headmistress in history, Miss Trunchbull. She reads and loves to learn. She has a good heart and wants to help those who need it. An absolute genius with special powers to boot . . . both Dahl and Matilda herself!!
I had read Matilda around the same time as a couple of other Dahl books. When reading them so close together, I began to notice a bit of a cranky theme! Characters seem to be crabby and the narrative tended to lean towards bitter . . . HOWEVER, the story itself was never actually negative, so it got me to thinking about the reason behind the sour attitude. Dahl experienced a lot of tragedy in his life. Maybe a lot of it had to do with this. I really do not know. I am just speculating!!
On a more positive note, however, in a recent conversation with one of my favorite bloggers, Kristen at We Be Reading, shared her theory . . . "It's kind of funny that there is so much crankiness in the books ... it's like he's giving kids permission to not always be perky and positive." Interesting, isn't it?!?! It is a good message to give our children. I think in the end, Dahl gives the message of hope . . . but, he does seem to be giving a certain permission that there may be hard times and it is okay to be cranky . . . we all have our bad days. I think that is why I love his books so much! They are so real and they ring of truth and reality.
As in the case of Matilda . . . Her parents are not very nice to her. Her headmistress is a horror who does not even like children. She is different from her peers, making it difficult for her to initially make friends. But, you end up loving the little girl that wins the heart of her favorite teacher with genuine kindness. At the end of the day, she finds her place in the world, feels loved, and exits with content!
Don't forget that September is Roald Dahl month!!! Visit his website for great activities and fun!!