Witches are very interesting group of people to read about. They have been at odds or different from the main-stream culture, and their practices and doings have been shrouded in secrecy and mystery, and evil-doing. For these reasons, witches make interesting characters in fictional stories, and are often used as the dark antagonist, in contrast with the good, innocent protagonist(s.) Many of the widely read fictional stories that contain witches were written for children. This could be because children are more accepting of the idea of magic and witchcraft; are more likely to see characters as solely good or evil; and because children like being told scary stories when they know that they themselves are safe. This paper gives a brief summary and analysis of some popular children's fiction.
[...] To be sure, although this series fits the criteria of being wide-spread and popularly read, it may turn out that this series will not stand the test of time and still be popular a century from now. However, as the 21st century has barely begun, and as the Harry Potter books are wildly popular with children today, it seems reasonable to think that some children's perceptions of witchcraft may be influenced by these books. Most summary and description here comes from the last book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. [...]
[...] The children enter one world, and find an old, dead hall, full of people frozen in place, and a bell on a table. The boy rings the bell and Jadis, one of the women in the hall, comes to life. She grabs hold of the children and travels back to London with them, where she created terrible chaos, demanding to be taken to the leader of that world so that she may conquer him and become the new leader of Earth. [...]
[...] The Queen in Snow White used her powers of witchcraft simply because she wanted to be the most beautiful. In Oz, Narnia, and Harry Potter the villains' long-term goal is power and complete domination of the people/creatures under them. In the end, though, all of them end up dead. Goodness, innocence, and righteousness always overcame the evil character. This was so even in classical witchcraft. It was understood that if a pact with the Devil was made, for whatever reason, the Devil would always win. [...]
[...] last decades of that century, however, witnessed the triumph of those who sought to end the active persecution of alleged witches and to alter the intellectual and theological systems whereby such persecution was deemed necessary and purposeful (Kors & Peters, 392.) By the 18th century, witchcraft trials were a thing of the past, and peoples' beliefs in magic, including witchcraft, was decreasing. The witch stories chosen to represent the 18th century are the fairy tales collected by the Grimm brothers; specifically, “Snow White” and “Hansel and Grethel.” The Grimm brothers were Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. [...]
[...] Possibly she is only called a witch because she is going to eat the children, and in those days, only witches would eat children. The witches in the Grimm brothers' stories were clearly evil beings, it is not explicitly stated that they serve the Devil or have made any pact with him, but they seem to intend to hurt and kill innocent people for their own selfish purposes. To represent the 19th century, the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was chosen. [...]
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