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ENGB35The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe 3; Matilda 1.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Pouneh Saeedi

ENGB35 The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe 3; Matilda 1  The lion on Peter’s shield o Turkish?  The Romantic child  The moral and immoral child  The Lockean child  The social child  The post-war child  The gendered child: o Father Christmas’s presents o Lucy is the first child who leads the way to Narnia o Girls got healing stuff whereas boys got fighting stuff  Susan’s horn can ask for Peter’s help and enact Peter’s manliness and whatever o Girls got bow and dagger, and they don’t participate in the battle  Battles are ugly when women fight  So not their place, despite being armed  Significant with the White Witch, because she’s a woman who does fight  Leads her army into battle  Played off against Mrs. Battle, figure of maternal and nurturing domesticity  Goodness is identified with recognizable British middleclass domesticity  Girls and women who remain within that role are on the good side  Women on the other are cast out o Gender is also classed:  Order of boys is an aristocratic one: birth trumps whatever, throne inheritance  Feminine values however are constructed from middleclass ones  1950s post-war context is significant o War on two fronts, in Narnia and in that other place, the world or whatever  All the assurance Aslan gives to Peter is only battle plans in the film Matilda  Is it fantasy fiction? o Not strictly fantasy or school story, but fairly evident that Dahl’s picking up many themes from the books before and putting sarcastic twist to it o Pushes things to such extremes to reveal the absurdities of reality o Elements of parody and absurdism  That scrambling, the pushing things to the absurd with the hodgepodge of realism and fantasy and whatever o The fairytale packaging of the book that frame the realistic settings of the bourgeois home and the school  Model of childhood? o Matilda introduced as extraordinary and unusual o Modest and polite, but vengeful  Stands up for herself  Good deal of her cleverness devoted to devising and carrying these elaborate schemes of punishment o Anne Shirley remakes Avonlea in her own image, the boring teacher and minister are shuffled away and replaced by nicer, kinder versions o In Matilda, the bad people are gotten rid of altogether  All-out war between abusive adults and children  Much like Tom Brown and his friends rebelling against Fitz  But this is between children  She is right to bring them down because they’re bad and child-abusers  It’s not just Matilda, all the main child characters get to have their moment and glory  Hortensia blazes the trail with her syrup and itching powder  Bruce Bogtrotter and the cake o Brilliant reversal of punishment o You do what you’re told to the extremes that it punishes the adult o Edmund essentially gets damned for Turkish Delight, but in this conflict Bogtrotter o Bruce’s gluttony not framed in moralistic frame at all o Child’s limitless appetite leads in his triumph  Lavender’s newt: “It was her turn to become a heroine if only she could come up with a brilliant plot”  It’s like the imagination is reworked and disjointed from innocence and works with cleverness to the role reversal and the triumph of the children  The clever kids here are the girls  Works right through to Hermione Granger  Boy stories do not value their heroes for being clever  Ron Weasley good at chess, but not good at academics  There’s some banning in this book in the US because it teaches kids to disobey adults and not a good model of authority  Fantastic misreading of this book  Narrator goes out of his way to specify how unusual both the Wormwoods and Miss Trunchbull are o Most parents adore their kids, but Wormwoods don’t recognize genius when they see it o Most teachers are good te
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