What is the summary of the book Matilda by Roald Dahl?  

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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. 

It isn't long before Matilda's Kindergarten teacher, Miss Honey, discovers 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." 

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.

lion0909 | Student

A grouchy couple give birth to a very sweet girl they name Matilda. Unlike her bratty brother & mean parents, Matilda becomes a very sweet & extremely intelligent girl who is very anxious to go to school & read books. After a while, her parents send her to a school with the worst principal in the world, a very sweet teacher, & good friends. While trying to put up with her parent's & principal's cruelty, she starts to unwittingly unleash telekinetic powers that destroy a television & make a reptile fly on the principal. With enough practice, Matilda starts to learn to control her telekinetic powers & soon using them on her principal so she can drive her away from the school.Matilda is a bright little girl who is very eager to learn. Eventually, her insensitive parents send her to a school run by Miss (The) Trunchbull. She is a cruel authoritarian that loathes children. Matilda befriends her school teacher, Miss Honey. She soon realizes Matilda's talents, but is later amazed to see the full extent of Matilda's powers. This is the story of a sweet bright little girl named Matilda, who is a child of wondrous intelligence. But unfortunately she is different from the rest of her family. Ignored at home all the time, Matilda escapes into a world of reading, exercising her mind so much she develops telekinetic powers. Good thing, too: sent off to a school headed by a cruel hulking monster, principal Agatha Trunchbull, Matilda needs all the help she can get. Amid Crunchem's darkness, Matilda finds a single light in warm-hearted Miss Honey, the first-grade teacher who recognizes the girl's remarkable skills--including a very special talent that allows the spirited girl to turn the tables on the wicked grown-ups in her world. The story is about Matilda Wormwood, a young and smart 6 1/2 year old who loves to read. Her family never notice her and somewhat despise her. Her teacher is the only one who actually loves her. Matilda and her friends outwit Miss Trunchbull, the mean and evil headmisstress of Crunchem Hall.