The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe (part 3) and Matilda (part 1).docx
University of Toronto Scarborough
ENGB35 March 20, 2013
Peter’s Shield – has lion on it
Richard the Lionheart: crusades
Moral and immoral
o Girls’ gifts – Lucy gets healing things (nurse) and Susan a horn (to call for
o Boys’ gifts – weapons
o The Witch is outcast for being warlike – a woman
Is Matilda fantasy fiction?
Not strictly fantasy or realist or school story.
“Things happen in Matilda that don’t have scientific explanations or can’t be easily
explained […]. Maybe the most fantastic of all is the idea that an administrator as
outrageously terrible and abusive as the Trunchbull would be able to hold on to her job
without any problems. That’s definitely the stuff of fantasy.”
This argument is not using fantasy right. There are fantastical aspects to the
book but this is not an argument for it. This is just an overblown thing, not a
What model of childhood does Matilda construct?
Matilda is very clever but humble. She does use her cleverness to get her vengeance.
This book demonstrates the fight between child and adult – except Matilda is shown as
better than the adults, more intelligent.
Unlike Anne of Green Gables, Matilda does not make the adults better. She just
defeats them. This is sort of like Tom Brown’s Schooldays in a way.
o However, Matilda is very much set up as a righteous punisher. ENGB35 March 20, 2013
Child’s powers as antagonistic to adults
Triumph of the child
o Itching powder etc
Bruce Bogtrotter and the cake
o Child’s way of punishing adult: “I’ll do what you say but just watch what I
can do, even when I’m technically being good.”
Lavender: “It was her turn to become a heroine if only she could with a brilliant
o Imagination, that thing that was supposed to be so cherished in the
Romantic era, is now a weapon.
Controversy in the US – was attempted to be banned because it showed
rebellion in children. It was too disrespectful to adults.
o Misreading – the narrator makes every attempt to state that the
Wormwoods and the Trunchbull are completely unrealistic and out of the
o Exception and not the rule
“you are so much wiser than your years my dear […] Although you look like a child, you
are not really a child at all because your mind and your powers of reasoning seem to be
fully grown-up. So I suppose we might call you a grown-up child, if you see what I
“You must remember that she was still hardly five years old and it is not easy for
somebody as small as that to score points against an all-powerful grown-up”
“Being very small and very young, the only power Matilda had over anyone in her family
Fairy tale patterning: tiny, defenseless child facing down the giant evil.
o The cleverness is presented as a property of the child and her only
defense. ENGB35 March 20, 2013
Miss. Trunchbull “the giant in green breeches”
o The problem with just pushing the Trunchbull into the giant role is that
there is actually an explanation of why she might appear to be a giant
o Presented as someone who is scary and villainou