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50 Matilda Quotes from the Childhood Classic

Escape the stress of the present with these Matilda quotes from the work of Roald Dahl.

Road Dahl wrote many of children’s favorite books from James and the Giant Peach to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Another one of his famous works is Matilda.

Matilda is a novel about a young girl who is incredibly smart but born into a family of idiots. Her unused potential in knowledge ends up giving up the ability to use her eyes to make things move, which ends up creating some fun and exciting situations in her life.

The book is clever, funny, and entertaining. It was even turned into a movie in the late 1990s. Here are some Matilda quotes to help you remember the book and the movie.

Matilda quotes about books and reading

1. “The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She traveled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.” – Matilda

2. “With frightening suddenness, he now began ripping the pages out of the book in handfuls and throwing them in the waste-paper basket. Matilda froze in horror. The father kept going. There seemed little doubt that the man felt some kind of jealousy.” – Matilda

3. “There was a moment of silence, and Matilda, who had never before heard great romantic poetry spoken aloud, was profoundly moved. ‘It’s like music,’ she whispered.” – Matilda

4. “So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” – Matilda

5. “Parents never underestimated the abilities of their own children. Quite the reverse. Sometimes it was well nigh impossible for a teacher to convince the proud father or mother that their beloved offspring was a complete nitwit.” – Matilda

6. “There was a moment of silence, and Matilda, who had never before heard great romantic poetry spoke aloud, was profoundly moved. ‘It’s like music,’ she whispered.” – Matilda

7. “By the time she was three, Matilda had taught herself to read by studying newspapers and magazines that lay around the house. At the age of four, she could read fast and well, and she naturally began hankering after books.” – Matilda

8. “Sometimes Matilda longed for a friend, someone like the kind, courageous people in her books.” – Matilda

9. “I’m wondering what to read next. I’ve finished all the children’s books.” – Matilda

Inspirational Matilda quotes

10. “Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.” – Matilda

11. “If you are good, life is good.” – Matilda

12. “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” – Matilda

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13. “I was flying past the stars on silver wings. I was wonderful.” – Matilda

14. “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…” – Matilda

Matilda quotes from Miss Trunchbull

15. ”Small people should never be seen by anybody. They should be kept out of sight in boxes like hairpins and buttons. I cannot for the life of me see why children have to take so long to grow up. I think they do it on purpose.” – Miss Trunchbull

16. “What nonsense. You are not supposed to learn long words like that until you are at least eight or nine.” – Miss Trunchbull

17. “Wormwood! You useless, used-car-salesman scum! I want you around here now with another car! Yes, I know what caveat emptor means, you low life liar! I’m gonna sue you. I’m gonna burn down your showroom! I’m gonna take that no-good jalopy you sold me and shove it up your bazooga! When I’m finished with you, you’re gonna look like roadkill!” – Miss Trunchbull

18. “The Headmistress is very strict about everything. Make sure your clothes are clean, your faces are clean and your hands are clean. Speak only when spoken to.” – Miss Honey

19. “Cake. CHOCOLATE cake. You slithered like a serpent into the school kitchen and ate MY PERSONAL SNACK!” – Miss Trunchbull

20. “You couldn’t spell “difficulty” if your life depended on it.” – Miss Trunchbull

21. “I’m right and you’re wrong. I’m big and you’re small, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” – Miss Trunchbull

22. ”And I’ll tell you what. I wish to heavens I was still allowed to use the birch and belt as I did in the good old days! I’d have roasted Matilda’s bottom for her so she couldn’t sit down for a month!” – Miss Trunchbull

23. “I have never been able to understand why small children are so disgusting. They’re the bane of my life. They’re like insects: they should be got rid of as early as possible.” – Miss Trunchbull

24. “My school is a model of discipline! Use the rod, beat the child, that’s my motto.” – Miss Trunchbull

25. ”I have discovered…that a bad girl is a far more dangerous creature than a bad boy. What’s more, they’re much harder to squash. Nasty dirty things, little girls are. Glad I never was one.” – Miss Trunchbull

Matilda quotes from or about her parents

26. “Occasionally one comes across parents who take the opposite line, who show no interest at all in their children, and these of course are far worse than the doting ones. Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood were two such parents.” – Matilda

27. “To read? Why would you want to read when you got the television set sitting right in front of you? There’s nothing you can get from a book that you can’t get from a television faster.” – Harry Wormwood

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28. “The parents, instead of applauding her, called her a noisy chatterbox and told her sharply that small girls should be seen and not heard.” – Matilda

29. “A girl doesn’t get a man by being brainy.” – Mrs. Wormwood

30. “His [Mr. Wormwood] speech was never very delicate but Matilda was used to it. She also knew that he liked to boast and she would egg him on shamelessly.” – Matilda

31. “Mrs. Wormwood was hooked on bingo and played it five afternoons a week.” – Matilda

32. “She [my mother] doesn’t really care what I do.” – Matilda

Matilda quotes from Miss Honey

33. “A precocious child is one that shows amazing intelligence early on. You are an unbelievably precocious child.” – Miss Honey

34. “So far as I know, nobody else in the history of the world has been able to compel an object to move without touching it or blowing on it or using any outside help at all.” – Miss Honey

35. “There is little point in teaching anything backwards. The whole object of life, Headmistress, is to go forwards.” – Miss Honey

36. “I hated her [my aunt] right from the start. I missed my mother terribly. And the aunt was not a kind person. My father didn’t know that because he was hardly ever around but when he did put in an appearance, the aunt behaved differently.” – Miss Honey

37. “Because we are playing with mysterious forces, my child, that we know nothing about. I do not think they are evil. They may be good. They may even be divine. But whether they are or not, let us handle them carefully.” – Miss Honey

38. “‘I have found it impossible to talk to anyone about my problems. I couldn’t face the embarrassment, and anyway I lack the courage. Any courage I had was knocked out of me when I was young. But now, all of a sudden I have a sort of desperate wish to tell everything to somebody. I know you are only a tiny little girl, but there is some kind of magic in you somewhere. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.” – Miss Honey

39. “Matilda was appalled. Was this really where her neat and trimly-dressed school teacher lived? Was this all she had to come back to after a day’s work? It was unbelievable. And what was the reason for it? There was something very strange going on around here, surely.” – Miss Honey

40. “I think what I am trying to explain to you is that over the years I became so completely cowed and dominated by this monster of an aunt that when she gave me an order, no matter what it was, I obeyed it instantly. That can happen, you know. And by the time I was ten, I had become her slave.” – Miss Honey

41. “Miss Honey felt confident that she would have no difficulty in convincing Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood that Matilda was something very special indeed. The trouble was going to be to stop them from getting over-enthusiastic.” – Miss Honey

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42. “Matilda’s trouble is that she is so far ahead of everyone else around her that it might be worth thinking about some extra kind of private tuition. I seriously believe that she could be brought up to the university standard in two or three years with the proper coaching.” – Miss Honey

More Matilda quotes from Roald Dahl

43. “It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.” – Matilda

44. “I want to be in school. I told you I was supposed to start school in September. You wouldn’t listen.” – Matilda

45. “I’m nothing like my father.” – Matilda

46. “Most children in Matilda’s place would have burst into floods of tears. She didn’t do this. She sat there very still and white and thoughtful. She seemed to know that neither crying nor sulking ever got anyone anywhere.” – Matilda

47. “She felt as though she had touched something that was not quite of this world, the highest point of the heaves, the farthest star. She had felt most wonderfully the power surging up behind her eyes, gushing like warm fluid inside her sull and her eyes had become scorching hot, hotter than ever before, and things had come bursting out of her eye-sockets and then the piece of chalk had lifted itself up and had begun to write.” – Matilda

48. “Parents never underestimated the abilities of their own children. Quite the reverse. Sometimes it was well nigh impossible for a teacher to convince the proud father or mother that their beloved offspring was a complete nitwit.” – Matilda

49. “She resented being told constantly that she was ignorant and stupid when she knew she wasn’t.” – Matilda

50. “Miss Honey was still hugging the tiny girl in her arms and neither of them said a word as they stood there watching the big black car tearing round the corner at the end of the road and disappearing forever into the distance.” – Matilda

Which of these Matilda quotes is your favorite?

Matilda’s parents are characters that you love to hate. Ms. Trunchbull is also a villain that you just can’t wait to see what fate has in store for her. And, Miss Honey is that lovable teacher and support for Matilda that you just know will come through in helping her. Together, the characters make for an exciting storyline to follow.

While the present-day situation may feel stressful to you, allow yourself to escape reality and indulge in one of the Roald Dahl classics. Give yourself permission to re-enjoy or create a childhood moment for yourself with the help of witty Matilda.

Did you enjoy reading these Matilda quotes and sayings? Which of the quotes is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.

Stephanie Kirby
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