Matilda Literary Elements

Matilda Literary Elements


Fantasy Comedy

Setting and Context

A Small English Village, Crunchem Hall Primary School

Narrator and Point of View

First Person Peripheral Narrator - the narrator is not a mentioned figure in the story but he states his opinions at times.

Tone and Mood

Humorous and lighthearted with elements of despair and sadness

Protagonist and Antagonist

Matilda Wormwood is the main protagonist alongside Miss Honey. Harry& Zinnia Wormwood and Miss Trunchbull are the main antagonists.

Major Conflict

The conflict between children and cruel, oppressive adults is consistent throughout the novel. It is first seen with respect to the relationship between Matilda and her parents, who often come to conflict because of Matilda's desire to study and educate herself. The conflict continues with Miss Trunchbull and the children of Crunchem Hall Primary School. Children such as Lavender and Matilda believe the headmistress is a bully and needs a dose of her own medicine.


The climax is when Matilda uses her eye powers to scare Miss Trunchbull into returning Miss Honey's house and wages and leaving the area. Matilda's plan rids the school of the oppressive headmistress, allowing someone who truly cares about education to take over the position.


The tricks Matilda plays on her parents to punish their cruel behavior foreshadow Matilda's plan with the chalk to punish Miss Trunchbull.


When Miss Honey understates the vicious treatment of her aunt towards her but Matilda see's this in action through her treatment of the students at Crunchem.


Dahl alludes to many well known novels and authors to show the reader how intelligent and well-read Matilda is. Some of the authors Dahl alludes to are Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Earnest Hemingway, and William Faulkner. The first adult book Matilda reads is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.


There is very dark imagery with aspects to Crunchem, in particular the torture device of the Chokey that Ms Trunchbull uses. However, there are aspects that are lighter and more humour-filled such as the situation at Matilda's home.


Ms Trunchbull is the opposite of the kind and loving Ms Honey and this brings to stark attention the kind of love that Matilda deserves.


Ms Trunchbull has familiarities with a dictator in the way that she runs and maintains her authoritarian rule at Crunchem. Her heavy attitude towards discipline is further evidence of her intimidation style.

Metonymy and Synecdoche




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