What is the main theme of the book Matilda?

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The main theme of Roald Dahl's Matilda is that good triumphs over evil. It's a David and Goliath story of the seemingly weaker underlings triumphing over the bully.

The bully in this story is the aptly named Mrs. Trunchbull, the headmistress of Crunchem Hall Primary School. This Nazi-like woman is likened to an "enraged rhinoceros" who terrorizes children and teachers.

When Miss Honey, Matilda's sweet and pretty teacher, tells Mrs. Trunchbull that Matilda is a genius who needs more stimulation and should be moved to a higher class, Mrs. Trunchbull decides Matilda is bad and refuses to move her.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Trunchbull continues to bully and terrorize everyone in her path, and Matilda's indifferent parents continue to ignore her.

However, Matilda triumphs when she realizes she can move objects just by using her immense mental powers. She manages to write with chalk on the board from a distance, terrorizing Mrs. Trunchbull, especially as the note she composes, seemingly written by a ghost, tells Mrs. Trunchbull to right the wrongs she has done to people.

Mrs. Trunchbull flees, and Miss Honey comes into money, so she is able to adopt Matilda.

The book has a feel-good ending of good triumphing over evil, but it is a particular kind of good. In Dahl's books, good people are kind, loving, gentle and attentive, intelligent, and up against a much more powerful antagonist.

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The main theme of Matilda is that kindness, thoughtfulness, and siding with the underdog are far superior forms of power to cruelty, bullying, and self-centered indifference. Everyone has choices about how they use their power, and the choices they make matter.

The evil adults in the book, notably Mrs. Trunchbull and the Wormwords, use their power badly. Mrs. Trunchbull, the Nazi-like figure who runs Matilda's school, uses her power to bully and terrorize her students and staff. She also cheats people out of their wages. She is unjust and sadistic. Matilda's parents, the Wormwoods, misuse their power as parents by ignoring and devaluing the intelligent and sensitive Matilda. They also are dishonest people.

Miss Honey, however, uses her power to help her students, as a good teacher should. Likewise, when Matilda gains the power to move objects through her thoughts, she doesn't use this power to hurt people, but to help free the students and teachers at the school from the tyranny of Mrs. Trunchbull.

Miss Honey and Matilda are happier people in the end because they use the power they possess for the common good. We admire them for caring about others.

In pitting two forms of power, the power to harm and the power to help, against each other, Dahl sends the message that the power to help is far superior.

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