January 10, 2012

teacher don't play

Vile Villain No. 10: Miss Agatha Trunchbull of Roald Dahl's Matilda

Spoiler alert: The following contains specific plot information. 

When I read Matlida during personal reading time as an elementary school student, I quickly became caught up in the story. For me, Matilda Wormwood was a relatable character. I was by no means a child prodigy, but I loved to read and so did she. That is not much of a connection, but it was there.

Naturally, my strong alliance with the young girl meant Miss Trunchbull, the headmistress at the school her parents eventually send her to, was my sworn enemy.

Even by an adult's standards, Miss Trunchbull is bad. As an educator, she should want to mold young minds and set them on a successful path. Instead, she reinforces her hatred of children and dolls out harsh punishments, such as the "chokey" or throwing children over fences. I remember being horrified reading the ways she attacked people, both mentally and physically.

If that was not bad enough, we also learn that Miss Trunchbull is the beloved Miss Honey's aunt. For as good as Matilda's teacher is, her aunt cruelly raised her as a child and now dominates her as an adult.

Another reason Miss Trunchbull makes a good villain is the fact that she is still relatable for a child. Granted, parts of the book might include mysticism, but not her. She proves that a bad guy can still cause havoc in the lives of others' without an army. Roald Dahl consistently wrote bad villains for children to hate, fear and root against, and Miss Trunchbull exemplifies that ability.

Even though Matilda and Miss Honey ultimately come out the victors in the story, Miss Trunchbull proved a solid foe.

Now for your input: What did you think of Miss Trunchbull as a villain?

Check back at 2 p.m., today, when I reveal Vile Villain No. 9. Learn more about the Vile Villains series here.

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