The Evolution Of The Modern Woman As Seen In Roald Dahl's 'witches'

2277 words - 9 pages

When looking at women over the past two centuries, and comparing them to the modern women of today, it becomes obvious that major changes have occurred. Changes such as the Industrial Revolution; where women were brought into the working force and the Women's Rights Movement; which began and increased voting among women. This eventually led to the opportunity for women to hold a position in the government and eventually the independence of a woman as well as a greater equality within society. Today women have the opportunity to run for president, raise a family on their own as a single mother, and hold a high-status position in a company. The representation of women in "The Witches" is seen in three different views in which reflect upon women in today's society. Roald Dahl empowers these women through; an independent, wise and nurturing woman revealed in the grandmother; a vindictive, compassionless power-hungry woman reflected upon the witches; and last a prissy, prudish and sophisticated woman embodied in Mrs. Jenkins. The stereotypical aspects shown through these women demonstrate how they can be viewed as women of today's society. In comparing these three forms of women Roald Dahl displays in the story, one can also notice that some similarities arise whether or not the outcome or consequences differ.

An exceptionally independent woman who is extremely protective of the things she loves. The grandmother is depicted as a very empowered, wise, and loving woman who-as Dahl points out- shows this through the acceptance of her grandson whom she takes in, no questions asked, "He has asked me to take care of you for as long as I live, but he has also asked that I take you back to your own house in England..." (Dahl, pg.34) and treats him as if one of her own children after his parents have been killed in a car accident. The grandmother is quite old, so she's lived through a great deal meaning that she has plenty of life experiences. She is wise because of her knowledge about certain issues, specifically topics on witches, which she shares with her grandson. She eventually gets sick and becomes very weak, however still manages to recover and take her grandson on vacation. In addition to this, the grandmother can certainly come across as stubborn, "In the end, the doctor had his way about the holiday, but not about the cigars" (Dahl, pg. 51), here, one sees how the grandmother refuses to stop smoking cigars even though the doctor had warned her that it may be hazardous to her health, especially since she is still recovering form her illness. An extremely will powered woman is drastically seen as she manages to come up with a plan to save the children of the world. Finally, towards the end of the narrative, the grandmother is represented as a strong woman, because although things haven't relatively gone back to normal, she continues to work by planning additional ways in which to defeat the witches.

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