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Witches in Popular Children’s Fiction: A look at the portrayal of witches and witchcraft in select works of fiction since the 17th century

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  1. Introduction.
  2. A classical European witch.
  3. The witch stories chosen to represent the 18th century.
    1. The story of Snow White.
    2. The story of Hansel and Grethel.
    3. The book The Wizard of Oz.
  4. The stories chosen to represent the 20th century.
    1. The Chronicles of Narnia series.
  5. The Harry Potter series.
  6. Conclusion: The vanity of the witches and their lust for power.
  7. Works cited.

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. [...]


[...] However, she did not know that Deep Magic protected those who willingly made a sacrifice of themselves, and Aslan came back to life and led the children in a battle against the White Witch and her army, and she was killed. This witch is very different from any of the witches seen in fictional stories so far, yet she also has some of the most similarities with classical European witches than many of the other witches did. In this story, she is a force of pure evil. [...]

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