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ENGB35 Matilda 2.docx

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Pouneh Saeedi

ENGB35 Matilda  Dahl: o Her reading habits are what enable her to transcend her middleclass philistinic upbringing  Reading, culture enlarges your horizons  Makes you a better person o Miss Trunchbull‟s face “neither a thing of beauty nor a joy forever”  John Keats, an address to an adult, first line of his poem  An adult‟s supposed to feel terribly superior  But we don‟t al recognize it when we see it o Out of all the books that Matilda reads  Female heroines, courtship plots  the ones she likes the best aren‟t the stereotypical women‟s books  But the adventure plots, traveling all over the world  It mentally larges her horizons  The boys‟ stories particularly catch her eye o His use of the grotesque to vilify Miss Trunchbull and Mrs. Wormwood:  Grotesque women who don‟t conform to ideals of femininity  Clearly Matilda suffers at the hands at her father because she is a girl  Mrs. Wormwood: watching an American soap opera while telling Ms. Honey that women should think about making themselves attractive  Not only superficially anti-culture  But also reinforced narrow models of femininity: soap opera idols  Trunchbull pissed that all the women are married (when spelling „difficulty‟)  Rejected domestic femininity  Makes her sound like a feminist literary critic o So basic and fundamental ascription of marriage in Ms. Honey‟s teaching  Ms. Wormwood drops unity with her husband—a little female bonding  “I‟m afraid men are not quite as clever as they think they are. You will learn that when you get a little older, my girl.” Ms. Honey:  Her house located in the country o Whole social history to it:  Really small  Farmer‟s old cottage  Whitewash comes off on people‟s clothes, „cause cheap paint  No running water  Matilda has Wormwood-esque moment when she gets snobbish about how Ms. Honey‟s too poor to buy butter  Very subtle snobbish in consumerism and food-shopping o In country: in a different realm  Narrative style completely changes at this point  Set up as fairy-tale-like  Moving Matilda into romantic nature, a liberation of the world of tv dinners and soap operas  The narrator starts rambling on about the beauty of nature and stuff  Gets really lyrical  We get a glimpse of the proper adult-child relationship (pedagogical)  Ms. Honey teaches Matilda about things she doesn‟t know, how to recognize trees and shit  This relationship is framed explicitly in nature  Romantic nature vs. realist poverty vs. fairy-tale aspect  Before they get to the house, Ms. Honey recites Thomas‟s poem  Invoking Little Red Riding Hood, o Never and never… Fear or believe o That the wolf in the fairy-tale will attack you o There‟s a doubleness of acknowledgement and reassurance  With the fairy-tale invoked, there is an acknowledgement  Present to us, the reassuring adult, she‟s protecting the child (Matilda) from the fairy-tale o The power of those stories and the imagination o The stories, fairy-tales that spell the child to sleep (read to them before bed?)  Becomes heavily ironized a couple of pages later
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