Why does Matilda visit Fred's house?

Quick answer:

Matilda goes to Fred’s house so that she can borrow his parrot, which she uses to confuse and scare her parents as part of her ongoing campaign to get back at them for their cruelty.

Expert Answers

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Matilda goes to Fred’s house because she is on a mission to punish her parents for their unkindness towards her. While her first prank—gluing her father’s hat to his head—has been a success, she is worried that her parents have not learned any kind of lasting lesson.

Knowing that her friend Fred has a talking parrot, Matilda devises a plan to use the bird to punish her parents. She goes to Fred’s house to borrow the bird and makes a deal with Fred whereby she pays him a week’s worth of allowance to borrow his parrot for a short time. Back home, she shoves the bird’s cage up the chimney and waits for the fun to begin.

That evening, while eating their dinner in front of the TV, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood start to hear the parrot’s distorted voice. Assuming the voice must be coming from a burglar, the family (including a bluffing Matilda) arm themselves with an assortment of home weapons and search the dining room for the chatty burglar. Since they can’t find anyone, it’s easy for Matilda to scare her family by pretending that the room is haunted.

The devious trickster Matilda never tells her friend Fred what his parrot went through at her house. She simply tells him that her parents loved their houseguest.

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