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At the beginning of Dahl's book the reader is made to believe the following very quickly: Matilda Wormwood is misunderstood by her parents since the day of her birth. Matilda is an exceptional, gifted, and almost supernatural child born to very average, unintelligent, and unimaginative parents. During her toddlerhood, Matilda asks her dad for a book and is pressured to watch television instead. When she learns about the library, Matilda makes it a goal to get there and learn to read on her own (under the watchful eye of the neighborly librarian). Matilda reads the classics, not just simple children's books, and is chastised by her parents for her intelligence. Matilda always finds ingenius ways to get back at them, though, either by putting peroxide in her father's hair dye or superglue in his favorite hat.
The middle of the novel greatly concerns Matilda's Kindergarten teacher, Miss Honey. Miss Honey has discovered Matilda's genius as well, but when Miss Honey tries to suggest higher education to the parents, she is met with mega-resistance. Meanwhile, the horrible headmistress at Matilda's school (who is also Miss Honey's aunt) abuses the children in all of her classes to no end. Even though "The Trunchbull" is often seen hurling children out of windows and forcing kids to scarf down a class-size chocolate cakes, the worst torturous punishment the children can endure is to be slammed in "the Chokey."
The end of Dahl's book revolves around Matilda's special powers. Matilda's supernatural powers stem from the fact that she is psychokinetic (and can manipulate objects at will). Matilda uses this to her full advantage both with her parents and with Trunchbull. The climax of the book is when Matilda uses her powers to draw on the chalkboard in the name of "Magnus" in order to scare Trunchbull into leaving the school for good and giving Miss Honey her right inheritance. Just as Matilda's parents are caught in their cheating business schemes and decide to move to Spain, Miss Honey asks if she can adopt Matilda. The horrible Wormwoods drive away never to be seen again while Miss Honey and Matilda are left to a beautiful and happy life together.
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