Dahl's Matilda confronts Trump in new statue

A statue of the the classic British children's character Matilda staring down a likeness of President Donald Trump has been erected to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Roald Dahl's 1988 novel.

Posted: Oct 2, 2018 7:50 PM
Updated: Oct 2, 2018 7:56 PM

A statue of Donald Trump has gone face-to-face with a formidable new critic -- the classic British children's character Matilda.

A statue of the intrepid schoolgirl staring down a likeness of the US President has been erected to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Roald Dahl's 1988 novel.

A poll found that Trump was the figure the British public believed Matilda would be most likely to confront today.

Trump was chosen by 42% of respondents in a survey of over 2,000 Brits, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May earning 21% of votes and TV presenter Piers Morgan receiving 16%.

The statue, erected outside the author's museum and former home in Buckinghamshire, England, reimagines Matilda in her 30s and attempts to show what the schoolgirl would be doing now.

In the novel, Matilda uses telekinetic powers to gain revenge on her tyrannical school principal Miss Trunchbull.

"Matilda demonstrates that it's possible for anyone, no matter how small and powerless they feel, to defeat the Trunchbulls in their own lives -- a message that feels even more relevant today than it did 30 years ago," said Bernie Hall of the Roald Dahl Story Company, which created the statues.

The survey also suggested that Matilda would be friends with Harry Potter actress and activist Emma Watson and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

"Female rage has always been quite a big taboo, but what Matilda shows is if you channel it effectively it can be a hugely important agent of protest," lexicographer Susie Dent, who was involved in the project, told CNN.

"Trump was voted the most likely person that she would stand up to, and I'm assuming that people saw in him similar traits to Miss Trunchbull," Dent said.

But she added that the novel is "an exceptionally timeless story."

The survey also generated debate over Matilda's current job -- with 29% believing she would be a schoolteacher and one in 10 respondents envisioning her as a United Nations ambassador.

A musical based on the novel, currently showing in London, won five Tony Awards for its Broadway production in 2013. The story also provided the basis for a 1996 American film directed by Danny DeVito.

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