The Wicked Witch Of The West

Over on DD Storyteller today I’m looking at the role of the witch in fairy tales:

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‘Where would our most beloved fairy tales be without a witch? Portrayed as the stooped, haggard old woman the witch can also disguise herself as beautiful stepmother. Ultimately though, despite the word witch describing a man or a woman, a witch in our fairy tales is nearly always female.

 
In western fairy tales, typically, the witch appears as an old woman who has a hooked nose, a wart maybe, a pointy black hat a cape and a often a black cat. Living deep in the heart of the forest, high up in the castle on the mountain or hidden away in a cave by the sea, she is always manipulative, bitter and evil. She is ugly, removed from society, pitied and feared by those around her and is often thought to be the maker of her own misfortune.
 
In his studies of German myth and legend, Jacob Grimm described witches as ‘old women, who have become unable to love and work’ (Grimm, via, Schilmmlpfennig 2013). Witches and evil stepmothers often feature in the tales of Grimm and Perrault and the notoriety of witches may have stemmed from the witch-hunts of the 15th  – 18th century, indicative of the time these stories were recorded, (Schimmnelpfennig, 2013).’

To read the full post click here 

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4 thoughts on “The Wicked Witch Of The West

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    You make such well-taken points about witches, here! There’s an argument that the stereotypical conception of the evil witch was, indeed, intended to ‘keep women in their place,’ especially since so many women from ancient cultures had a lot of wisdom about healing, well-being, and so on. You know – the wise women. It’s easy to see how they could’ve been perceived as threats. I’m glad we’re re-thinking that image now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • writerdsnelson says:

      It’s a gradual thing I think as with all deeply embedded culture. As I know we’ve talked about before, we use stories to explain our cultures. we have many that explain our cultures from hundreds maybe even thousands of years ago and I think it’s important we keep those alive but tell more contemporary tales in tandem with these.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. coldhandboyack says:

    I recognize the stereotype, but have never followed it. My witches tend to be other than old scary hags. Not that I’d never write one, but I had a teenager, a middle aged ghost witch, a man who is more of a wannabe witch doctor, a middle aged woman, and a young adult gypsy. I like femme fatale witches, sexy witches, and unexpected witches. I’m on the verge of writing another one sometime this year as a peripheral character.

    Liked by 1 person

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