The L-Space Web: Analysis

Which witch is which?


A feminist analysis of Terry Pratchett's Discworld witches

Written by Lorraine Andersson

Thesis for a Masters of Arts in English at University of Halmstad, June 2006

Abstract

Terry Pratchett, writer of humorous, satirical fantasy, is very popular in Britain. His Discworld series, which encompasses over 30 novels, has witches as protagonists in one of the major sub-series, currently covering eight novels.

His first "witch" novel, Equal Rites, in which he pits organised, misogynist wizards against disorganised witches, led him to being accused of feminist writing. This work investigates this claim by first outlining the development of the historical witch stereotype or discourse and how that relates to the modern, feminist views of witches. Then Pratchett's treatment of his major witch characters is examined and analysed in terms of feminist and poststructuralist literary theory.

It appears that, while giving the impression of supporting feminism and the feminist views of witches, Pratchett's witches actually reinforce the patriarchal view of women.


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