Student Question

Do you agree that Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood neglect Matilda and lack showing love and care?

Quick answer:

Matilda's parents, the Wormwoods, show a complete lack of interest in her, so it can be argued that they do not treat her with love and care. They ignore both their children, but Matilda's brother, Michael, being an ordinary child, makes few demands on them. Matilda irritates them precisely because she is exceptional and interested in the world around her, making their neglect even more evident and damaging.

Expert Answers

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While this question is open to individual interpretation, one can certainly make the argument that Matilda's parents neglect her and do not treat her with love and care.

Unlike most parents, who tend to love their children however unappealing they are to other people, Matilda's parents regard her as a scab. The defining quality of a scab is that it is a nuisance which you endure "until the time comes when you can pick it off and flick it away." Matilda's parents, Mr. and Mr. Wormwood, both treat her as such an encumbrance, which they ignore as best they can until they are able to get rid of her.

Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood have two children and do not care for either of them, but Matilda irritates them precisely because she is an exceptional child. Whereas Michael, her brother, makes no demands on their time or attention and can simply be placed in front of the television, Matilda actually asks them questions and shows an interest in learning about the world around her. This irritates her parents, both because they are too self-absorbed to spend time talking to their daughter and because they are themselves ignorant and cannot understand her desire for knowledge.

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