New week, new chapters to discuss!
In the first chapter we’re discussing, Matilda has finally made her way into Crunchem Hall Primary School (sounds suspiciously close to “crush-em” … or is that just me?) at the age of five and a half. Matilda is put into a class with eighteen other students around her age, and we meet Miss Jennifer Honey – their teacher. With a name like Miss Honey, you can imagine how nice and good she is (it sounds sarcastic, but I swear I’m not meaning to be). The narrator introduces us to Miss Trunchbull, the headmistress, before we fully meet her in the book, and, yet again, the name gives everything away. I do have to say, though, that the narrator’s description of Miss Trunchbull’s march, not walk, is hilariously compared to that of a stormtrooper (I giggled when I read that). Anyway, Miss Honey is sweet (pun intended, duh) and Miss Trunchbull is a bully (yes, I did it again – don’t judge me). Miss Honey talks to the class about the expectations of Trunchbull, and tells her students that she will teach them all that she can to prepare them for the next eleven years of their lives. She starts on the first day, which is great, but these kids are in kindergarten or first grade? Give me a break, and they’re starting off with arithmetic – seriously? What five or six year old kid knows how to multiply on the first day of school, before addition or subtraction is even introduced? Or does this scene exist solely to make Matilda look even more like the genius she is? There’s only so much I can handle people. Moving on, Matilda shows Miss Honey how incredibly intelligent she is, and the entirety of this chapter is mostly Miss Honey testing how much Matilda knows without paying much attention to the rest of her students, except a few moments with two other students, Lavender and Nigel, and a side comment from Rupert. Next!
Miss Honey leaves her classroom to ask Miss Trunchbull to move Matilda into the highest class available at the primary school. She braves facing off against the beast that is Trunchbull because she believes in Matilda and wants her to flourish. Trunchbull found out about Matilda when she bought a used car from Mr. Wormwood, and she believed everything he said about Matilda before she even met the poor child. Miss Honey tries to explain how smart Matilda is to Trunchbull, but Trunchbull blows up at the thought of a child being a genius and refuses to move Matilda up multiple grade levels. Miss Honey leaves Trunchbull’s office depressed, but not defeated – she may not have won the battle, but she might win the war yet. Only time will tell, and you have to wait a week to find out more!
What we know about Matilda so far:
- Can multiply large sums in her head
- She likes The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- She’s fond of Charles Dickens’ work
- Can write poetry in the moment (a limerick no less)
Characters we’ve met so far (other than those we’ve already met):
- Miss Honey: Matilda’s teacher, no older than twenty-three or twenty-four, lovely face, blue eyes, light brown hair, slim figure, mild, quiet, never raises her voice, possesses a rare gift to be adored by every small child under her care, understanding, warm, terrified of Trunchbull, believes Matilda is brilliant, not defeated easily
- Miss Trunchbull: headmistress, gigantic holy terror, frightening, a menace to all (children and adults alike), marches never walks, believes Matilda is a worm because Matilda’s father said so, former famous athlete, scary face to match her scary demeanor, wears awful clothing, not a good headmistress, doesn’t like children, only barks or shouts, has it out for Matilda from the get-go
- Lavender: student in Matilda/Miss Honey’s class, possibly doesn’t like how smart Matilda is (too soon to really tell), she can spell and read a little bit
- Nigel: student in Matilda/Miss Honey’s class, can spell and read small sentences
- Rupert: student in Matilda/Miss Honey’s class, thinks Miss Honey is pretty
Until next post,