The Short Stories of Shirley Jackson
In The Witch, a mother is on the train with her four-year old son.
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A man enters and noting that the boy needs entertaining, tells him a story. The story, however, is a horrific one and what would be considered an inappropriate one. The mother must then deal with the social situation of reacting to the man’s inappropriateness. The aspect of the story that communicates the theme is that the boy is actually entertained by the story, even though it is considered inappropriate. This leads the reader to consider why these types of stories are so entertaining and why the mother is more disturbed by the story than her son. This leads to the questioning of the conventions of society, especially the idea of what is considered inappropriate.”