© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Witches Theme of Youth

The Witches is written for young people, and it's told from the point-of-view of a young person, so it's not surprising that there's a lot of talk of youth within the story. What's neat about this book, though, is that our protagonist is young, but he's wise beyond his years. For that reason, we get the best of both worlds: observations on youth from a young person (we wouldn't want it any other way) but keen, mature insight into these observations. Most of the characters in The Witches are adults (with some quite elderly adults, at that), but that makes the children, and the theme of youth, stand out even more.

Questions About Youth

  1. How would the story be different if witches hated all humans, not just children?
  2. In what ways does Roald Dahl accentuate (emphasize) the childlike wonder of the story?
  3. How does Grandmamma's old age change the way we interpret our narrator's youthfulness? Would this be different if he had been with his mom or dad, or, say, a teenaged babysitter?
  4. Based on the characters in The Witches, what are the differences between children and adults (aside from just their age and size)?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The Narrator would have had a much easier time defeating the witches if those pesky adults didn't get in the way.

Where the stink are all the children in the story? Roald Dahl should have introduced us to more young people instead of making most of the characters adults.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...