Roald Dahl

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Matilda: Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

As usual, the Wormwood house is empty. Matilda fishes out one of Mr. Wormwood’s cigars and then locks herself in her room to practice. By now, she has a plan for how to help Miss Honey. She’s confident that if she practices, she’ll succeed—and the cigar is about the right weight. Matilda puts the cigar on her dressing table and then sits on her bed. She concentrates until her power is flowing and manages to roll the cigar onto the floor.
Again, even a genius like Matilda needs to practice new skills until they’re second nature. This is a message to readers who might not be geniuses that it’s normal to have to work for and practice new things. And Matilda confirms that she’s practicing moving the cigar so she can help Miss Honey, motivated by her desire to get her teacher justice.
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Next, she tries to lift the cigar. It takes a huge effort. Matilda practices for another hour—and it’s so exhausting that she falls asleep. Mrs. Wormwood finds her like this later. From this day on, Matilda practices every day after school. Six days later, her practice pays off: she can move the cigar exactly how she wants to.
Throwing herself so fully into helping Miss Honey shows just how dedicated Matilda is to righting the world’s wrongs. But keep in mind that she also has an ulterior motive to trying to take down Miss Trunchbull: Miss Trunchbull hates the kids at school, too, so Matilda is also helping herself.
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