“The Gender Dynamics Of Stardust And The Witches." 20th Century Children's Fiction, Nuig Essay

1526 words - 7 pages

“Analyse the gender dynamics of two novels from the reading list, focusing in particular on powerful malevolent female villains.”
For centuries, fairy-tales have formed the backdrop of our childhoods, sowing the seeds from which our imaginations blossomed. While many believe that within fairy-tales “there is always the happy ending” (Newell 6), several 20th century fairy-tales would argue otherwise. The primary aim of this essay is to comparatively analyse the gender dynamics of two examples of said fairy-tales, Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Within the paper, attention will be paid to the presence of powerful malevolent female villains in each text.
Within the gender dynamics of both novels, one must not overlook the prevalence of the malevolent female villain – Stardust’s Madam Semele and Grand High Witch in The Witches. The Grand High Witch of Dahl’s beloved tale is the primary force of evil in the text and is the medium through which Dahl communicates female gender dynamics of a rather misogynistic nature.
From the offset of the text, there is a clear differentiation made between the Grand High Witch with and without her mask: from the feminine description of “very pretty” (59) to the contrasting “putrid and decayed” (60). This image of a woman being unmasked conveys the dynamic of an underlying distrust for women, simultaneously touching on the misconception of women using makeup as a societal disguise. On a deeper level for both texts, the gender dynamics associated with the malevolent female villain belittle women in power, “The book… hates one set of women, [and] loves another” (Mullally 2016), in which a successful woman in a position of authority is not meant to be liked by the audience. Therefore, the most horrifying aspect of the villain in The Witches, is not their power and malevolence, but rather that they are female! Bird argues that the Grand High Witch, as a metaphor for successful
women in society, is essentially associated with the “fall of humanity” (120). Similarly, the gender dynamics of Stardust centre around complying with the characteristics of the female villain, forming a link between female gender dynamics and the superficial nature of women formed by society.
Madame Semele, one of the Lilim witch-sisters, exemplifies the traditional female villain within the fairy-tale narrative. Her vanity and narcissistic tendencies communicate the gender dynamics of the female as nothing more than a physical object. In fact, Madame’s Semele’s obsession to remain youthful mirrors society’s distaste of aging, and the pressure that is forced on female beauty. Like the Grand High Witch, Stardust’s malevolent female villain embodies the theme of deceit: “I am… a harmless old biddy who’s never done anything to no one” (Gaiman 92). What is most interesting about Madam Semele, is that she alone comes closer to capturing Yvaine than the sons of the Lord of Stormhold did. The gender dynamics of Stardust’s female...

Other Essays On “The gender dynamics of Stardust and The Witches." - 20th Century Children's Fiction, NUIG - Essay

The Roles of Advice Literature, Experts, and Child-Savers in the 19th and 20th Century Childrearing - The University of Memphis/ HIST 4863 - Essay

969 words - 4 pages Heather Alexander History 4863 Midterm Question 2 The Roles of Advice Literature, Experts, and Child-Savers in 19th and 20th Century Childrearing. Before the 19th century, there was a time in the United States when child abuse was completely legal, and it was acceptable for children to work long strenuous jobs with no consideration for schooling or childhood whatsoever (1). Poor children also ran rampant in the streets, stealing what they could

Fear of Witches: The Origin and Diffusion of the Witchcraft Hysteria - Allen High School/English - Essay

1801 words - 8 pages witchcraft, playing a crucial role in developing the fear of witches. Over the centuries, people were driven by their phobia of witchcraft to accuse, convict, and execute others based on the slightest indications of the presence of dark arts. Witch hunts became more frequent in Europe during the 14th century, growing to be a common occurrence that was advocated by Christian leaders: "By choosing to give their souls over to the devil, witches had

The struggle between good and evil within Strangers on a Train - 20th Century English at UNL - Essay

1297 words - 6 pages Lathrop Connor Lathrop English 205 Professor Rios 02 February 2018 The Struggle Between Good and Evil The Yin and Yang is the chinese philosophy describing how seemingly opposite forces may be interconnected or independent in the natural world. However this philosophy does not describe an individual's struggle to choose a one side over another. In the novel “Strangers on a Train” by Patricia Highsmith, the character of Guy faces many moral

Macbeth's altered destiny and the role of the three witches

484 words - 2 pages An Altered DestinyThe Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare is an illustration of the supernatural and power of suggestion. This play opens with three suspenseful witches chanting a spell. The mood is gloomy, and the wicked and powerful appearance of the witches is bestowed upon us. As the devilish sisters continue their spell, it shows the powers the witches will hold over Macbeth. This also foreshadows the plans the witches will profess in

Connecting ideas on short stories form the early 20th century - year 13 - Connections essay

1414 words - 6 pages English essay: Statement: Writers consistently use short stories as a lens through which they view society Intro: The lens in which writer’s view Mansfield’s short stories, are through the way she portrays the gender roles and expectations in the early 20th century. In comparing two of Mansfield’s stories from different decades, we can see a shift in the views of gender roles and expectations in the early 1900s. Examples of this view can be seen

This Essay Illustrates The Bondage Of Marriage To Women In The Early 20th Century. I Use Glaspell's "Trifles" To Illustrate My Point

697 words - 3 pages Symbolic Bondage"Trifles" is an extraordinary American drama. The title of this means "something of little importance or consequence." (Webster, 1374) It was written during the women's' movement for equality. The women in this selection are mocked numerous times by the men. Glaspell emphasizes through symbolic representation the life of a woman during her time, and what the movement represented. She states that a change must take place for women

The Gilded Age and Predator-Prey Dynamics - AP Humanities - Essay

1289 words - 6 pages collaboration of the government and the courts,” (A People’s History of The United States, 254). The Robber Barons were untouchable for a long time because they weren’t breaking the law; they were making it. During the nineteenth century, cheap and unregulated labor was one of the robber barons’ biggest keys to success. The average American worked nearly 100 hours a week and yet most still lived well below the poverty line. Almost all children

The impact of edward tulane on children - Children's literature - Essay

532 words - 3 pages Nick Habibi P.6 The impact of edward tulane on children In the novel “the miraculous journey of Edward Tulane” the author has made this book for kids because he feels like kids should be able to handle death when they face such tragedies. In this book, the author tries to teach kids how to handle death by showing some things that are hard to deal with in the story and he has the main character (Edward) pass all of the problems that he face and

A Study of South East Asian Politics Through the 20th Century - Politics - Politics

1923 words - 8 pages 15469418 POL30380 Question 1 Asian Politics The Cold War had a major influence on the politics of Asia in the 20th Century. I will discuss three ways in which this was the case by illustrating my answer with specific examples, such as the influence of the cold war on the Korean peninsula, Vietnam and Japan. I will also discuss in what ways the Cold war has influenced not only 20th Century politics but also its influence is still present in the

Oral History of Media in the 20th century - Mass Communication - Oral history report

1343 words - 6 pages and error with a little bit of frustration locating someone to interview, I settled nicely on a phone conversation with my wife’s step-grandmother. Jerri Rock, who lives in West Virginia, was more than happy to talk with me about the changes throughout her 75 years. She grew up in the southern area of Washington D.C., with what she described as easy parents who enjoyed music and television. I am extremely grateful for her taking the time to talk

Britain's decline - 20th Century history - uni - essay

1717 words - 7 pages adherence began from the late nineteenth century, signalling an evolutionary change of ideas. Paired with changes occurring in society during the 1960’s ‘revolutionary’ period of expressiveness and shifts in cultural viewpoints, the resulting ‘death’ of the Christian religion was unavoidable, with the Church today still battling the repercussions of the decade. Though it is true that the causation and impact of the crisis has been disputed by many

Similar Papers

Gender And Sexuality In 20th Century Plays 20th Century Plays Essay

1404 words - 6 pages of passion. She has the passion of a python. She just devours me whole every time, as if I were some overlarge rabbit…She'll go on sleeping and devouring until there's nothing left of me” (Osborne 38). Alison’s sexuality come into play here and is portrayed to the readers as a large reason behind hers and Jimmy’s marriage. But in this case, sexuality is something that gives her power, shifting the gender dynamics. Another twentieth century play

The Rise Of Hitler And 20th Century Anti Semitism

3020 words - 13 pages professor, Friedrich Gundolf.Propaganda was to play a major part in the Nazi's rise, and the rise of anti-Semitism in the 20th century. Throughout his life Goebbels suffered from a mental torment about a crippled foot due to contracting Polio as a child, due to this he was rejected from the army to fight in World War I. As the great depression hit Germany in 1927 Goebbels capitalised on this with the skill of a master propagandist and played on the

Influential Technological Advancements Of The 20th Century

832 words - 4 pages The period of 20th century has been recognized and addressed as a period of political war, period of radical change and a period of rapid inventions which transformed the lifestyle of the whole world. The development and the growth in the field of accelerated scientific understanding, more efficient communication, speedy and better controlled transportation, changed the dynamics of the world and the people more than any time in the history of

What Were Living And Working Conditions In Australia At The Start Of The 20th Century? History Essay

575 words - 3 pages used to 'disperse the natives' was by setting up the Native Police Forces. This force was made up of only indigenous men who were trained by the colonists' troops. The settlers used tribal rivalries to instigate violence between different clans of Aboriginal people. Violence against the Aboriginal peoples continued, in some parts of Australia, until the third decade of the twentieth century. It has been estimated that between 1788 and 1900, violence, dispossession and disease caused the Indigenous population to decline by around 90 percent.