dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #741

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Mon Nov 10 12:16:20 EST 2003

>Yeah, that does seem odd. I was particularly struck by some of the things 
>Charles Morgan wonders when he realises he's a witch - exactly how wicked 
>is he, is it because of his contact with the escaping witch, is it enough 
>just not to do magic, can you go somewhere and be de-witched - because all 
>of those sound like the concerns of a young person who thinks they may be 
>gay and knows it won't be accepted. And note that the children in the 
>story use 'magic' and 'magicking' as swear words in *linguistically* the 
>same way as 'fuck.' 'Magicking hell,' 'magic off,' etcetera.
>I'm not saying that I think the witchcraft in the story is a deliberate 
>metaphor for sexuality or homosexuality (I don't think it could logically 
>be read that way), just that these seem to be the clearest parallels, 
>rather than anything about race or generic 'secret fears.' Children have 
>secret fears about so many different things!

Why can it not "logically" be read as a metaphor for homosexuality? It 
seems to me that a case has been made, and  your (Sarah's) arguments add to 
the validity of that case. The more you interrogate this metaphor, the more 
interesting it becomes. Look at Nan, the odd girl out, picked on by the 
other girls, and her secret relationship with Estelle (clearly passing for 
straight). Plus Charles' father being blackmailed about his secret, because 
parents don't like the idea of their children being taught by "witches". 
It's great.

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