What would you do if you lived in a home where no one wanted you and your parents berated you daily? And if the school you attended had a head mistress who was the cruelest person on earth? What then? In the captivating musical based on the story by Roald Dahl, the main character, Matilda, lives in this environment and yet she is able to persevere and emerge as an inspiration to others around her.
The little girl in this story is incredibly special and at a very young age, Matilda teaches herself to read. She is able to escape the realities of her life in the books she finds at the library. Rather than feel discouraged by her situation, Matilda rises above it and finds ways to subtly right the wrongs in her life. In the song Naughty, she sings:
Just because you find that life’s not fair, it
Doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it, nothing will change.
Just because I find myself in this story,
It doesn’t mean that everything is written for me.
If I think the ending is fixed already,
I might as well be saying I think that it’s OK,
And that’s not right!
In the musical the students come to her for advice and Matilda always defends the underdog including hiding one little boy to protect him from false accusations. By standing up to the head mistress, Matilda demonstrates her ability to not only be resilient but also her determination to not let a difficult situation define who she is.
In the song Revolting, the singing is lead by a boy who was singled out and bullied by the head mistress. When Matilda uses magic powers to chase the head mistress away, the class all sings Revolting:
Never again will she get the best of me!
Never again will she take away my freedom.
Seeing these children liberated from the source of their daily terror one feels a sense of exhilaration for them.
Three Ways Matilda Demonstrates Resilience:
Strength: Despite her mother and father’s constant destructive words, Matilda is as able to somehow find ways to rise above it all. She demonstrates an unwavering determination to continue to do what she loves-read even after books are destroyed by her father.
Courage: Tapping her inner strength, Matilda supports others around her coming to their defense. When she sees children being mistreated Matilda comes to the rescue standing up to one of the biggest bullies of them all: the head mistress of her school.
Positive Outlook: The remarkable little girl in this story always looks forward not back. Despite her life being extremely difficult both at home and at school she finds a friend in her teacher and together they are able to create their own happing ending.
This story, while exposing very dark subjects of extreme abuse, communicates in the end what is possible. When the song When I Grow Up is sung by the cast, the words it helps give a sense of hope to the audience:
I will be brave enough to fight the creatures
That you have to fight beneath the bed
Each night to be a grown up
In real life, the outcome may not translate as easily to a sunny ending, but we can learn from Matilda that there is a way to overcome even the worst situation imaginable. What story has helped you and your daughter? Share it with us on Facebook we love to hear from you!