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Examine The Cultural Significance Of The Representation Of The American Witch In Any Three American Texts.

2553 words - 10 pages

Bryony Roberts1304086Faculty of ArtsAmerican StudiesAM2302 American GothicDue Date: 10/11/2014Examine the cultural significance of the representation of the American witch in any three American texts.This essay will look at three main texts, 'Hocus Pocus,' 'Practical Magic,' and 'American Horror Story: Coven.' These are chosen due to their different representations of the American Witches in different times to one another and it could be argued in different cultures as well. The argument that this essay takes is that the witches in these texts represent the journey of feminism, different types of feminists and how they are treated. A notable quote from Pat Robertson helps to see witches and feminism in the same light, "Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." Although it is supposed to be a negative comment, it outlines and introduces this essay to the reactions to feminism in the world and the reaction to witches in the texts.'Hocus Pocus' features the stereotypical ugly evil witches and how that represents feminism and female empowerment as a bad thing. 'Practical Magic' explores the family element to witches and how the towns people represent the lack of understanding of witchcraft and feminism. 'American Horror Story: Coven' shows representations of the modern witch/feminist and the struggles of a black witch/feminist, also looking at the criticisms of the text as a feminist text. All of the above are representations of the journey of feminism.Disney's 'Hocus Pocus' (1993) is a prime example of the stereotypical representation of witches being evil beings feeding off of children's souls to make themselves look younger and less ugly, as witches are normally portrayed as horrible looking. This stereotypical representation can be seen in many other movies such as 'The Wizard of Oz,' 'The Witches' and 'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.' This perception makes the audience believe that this is what witches look like and how they act, so when thinking of a witch this image would be what they immediately think of. In relation to the theory of witches representing feminists/feminism, this can be problematic. This is because the primary audience of these films are mostly children and it'll make them see feminism as a bad, evil thing that only ugly green witches believe in. For example Amy Wall's article 'Feminism and Witchcraft' explores how she was afraid to bring friends round as she didn't want them to see her mother as a frightening witch who eats children, "To a kid witches are frightening fairy tale creatures that put children into cages, feeding them candy so they get plump and tasty. This is not the image a child wants to have of her mother. I imagined bringing my friends home after school where my mother would be cackling in the kitchen as she churned a stick around in a steaming black cauldron." She...

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