dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #741

deborah deborah at suberic.net
Mon Nov 10 13:27:36 EST 2003

On Mon, 10 Nov 2003, Robyn Starkey wrote:

|>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.

You're right!  The more people delve into this, the cooler this gets.
Chrestomanci so elegant.  And only think about the book of Watts Minor,
the pluckiest boy in school: "a boy above all, straight alike in
body and mind".  Even Ms. Hodge finds it "rather an unfortunate choice
of book".


"A grown man punting a kitten who was looking the other way... It
was the bravest thing I've ever seen."  -- Sluggy Freelance

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