7 Reasons Why Matilda Is The Best Left Wing Story Ever Told

20:25Ciaran McCormick

Recently, I went to see Matilda the Musical in London. It rekindled my love for the classic Roald Dahl story first published in 1988 and later turned into a film. Even though it was a fixture in the childhoods of most people of my generation, it has some surprisingly left wing themes when seen from adult eyes. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory recently got into trouble for straying into adult territory as well. Matilda is an inspirational girl but I see it as a fundamentally left wing tale.

1) The Power of Knowledge Over Ignorance




The young girl Matilda absorbs books by the wagonload and becomes wise beyond her years. This is a powerful metaphor for the superiority of tolerance and knowledge They trump the ignorance and intolerance that dominate the worst of closed-minded right wing thinking.

2) The Power of Change


The lyrics of the musical say it very clearly, we can all change the world for the better. It is better than holding on to the past for the sake of it.



'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, doesn't mean its written already.'

3) The Power of Women


It is fundamentally a story about female agency. Women are so rarely portrayed doing things that it is refreshingly feminist to have a book like that, especially when it was written in a very different time.


You have Matilda, bettering herself and discovering her powers of telekinesis, Miss Honey struggling to keep her life afloat, Miss Trunchbull the evil headmistress and the vile yet endearing  Mrs Wormwood. Both the good and evil characters have flaws, from Miss Honey's lack of assertiveness to Agatha Trunchbull's fear of newts.

4) The Power of Being Small


'even if you're little you can do a lot, you musnt't let a little thing like little stop you'


These beautifully snappy lyrics are about how even though these unfortunate schoolchildren are tiny, they seize back control of their school. It is a powerful message for any marginalised person in society fighting back against government, business or other dominant force.

5) The Power of Innocence


The first song in the musical is called 'Miracle'. Throughout the night, you follow these children as they are corrupted. At its heart, it is a coming of age story, where you realise that the world is actually a horrid place. It is always wise to remember the purity and idealism of youth and channel it as a social force for change.

6) The Power of Authority



Miss Trunchbull epitomises authority, wielding her torture chamber the Chokey as a weapon. She shows how we defer to authority and the rules through sheer force, discipline and the illusion of control. For example, she remembers with nostalgia her Olympic hammer throwing years with the words

'if you want to make the team, you don't need happiness or self-esteem, you just need to keep your feet, inside the line'

7) The Power of Standing Up For What Is Right

Matilda is a feel good story about a girl you can't help but adore. She stands up to the bullies in her life and fights for what she believes in. She transforms her life and the life of Miss Honey and finishes with a happy ending. It is not about being practical or realistic, but using magical powers to fight for what is right. That is a wonderful left wing message.

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