I grew up with the Roald Dahl childrens books, I loved reading all of them. The first for me was Esio Trot and as I grew older George’s Marvellous Medicine and The Twits became firm favourites. The Witches was a little scary for me especially with the follow up film starring Angelica Houston but as I got older I matured and realised that it was just a story – nothing to really worry about.
It is odd to think that despite having children and writing a number of children’s books that Roald Dahl was considered by many a truly unpleasant man who wrote macabre books, perplexing when you know how popular his books are and that most of them are specifically written for children.
Reading the stories again it is clear the macabre theme was there to teach young children about society and the way in which people treat each other, the Twits were ugly on the inside and the outside and it showed by the way they treated people, the Grand High Witch and her followers needed hats, gloves and wigs to hide their true identities. Whilst some have observed that these symbols make the book misogynistic, arguing that it portrays women as immoral and dishonest, others argue that these symbols actually support the moral that things are not always as they seem.
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