by Roald Dahl
The Witches Cunning and Cleverness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"And the beauty of it is that the teachers will be the ones who bump off the stinking little children! It won't be us doing it! We shall never be caught!" (9.3)
In addition to not getting caught, the witches actually have a scapegoat, someone they blame for what they actually did themselves. That's smart – and kind of nasty.
"What did you come up with, O Brainy One?" they called out. "Tell us the great secret!"
"The secret," announced the Grand High Witch triumphantly, "is an alarm-clock!"
"An alarm-clock!" they cried. "It's a stroke of genius!" (9.31-33)
The witches really admire the cleverness of The Grand High Witch. It's worth noticing, though, that the Grand High Witch isn't much of a teacher. A good teacher would have asked her students if they could think of a way to delay the activation of the Mouse-Maker. You know what? A few of them probably would have come up with it. Instead, she maintains her power by providing all the ideas and all the answers and not letting the witches realize that she's not as brainy as she may seem.
"Grandmamma," I said. "I may have a bit of an idea." (14.56)
Compare these humble words to the pompous declarations of The Grand High Witch when she's providing the witches with her Mouse-Maker recipe. Our narrator is excited about the idea itself, not the fact that he had the idea. The Grand High Witch does the opposite: she emphasizes her thought process, instead of the idea itself.