The Witches of Eastwick  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
devil in fiction

The Witches of Eastwick is a 1984 novel by John Updike.

Plot summary

The story, set in the fictional Rhode Island town of Eastwick in the late 1960s, follows the witches Alexandra Spofford, Jane Smart, and Sukie Rougemont, who acquired their powers after leaving or being left by their husbands. Their coven is upset by the arrival of a devil-like character, Darryl Van Horne. The mysterious Darryl seduces each of the women, encouraging them to play with their powers and creating a scandal in the town. The three women share Darryl in relative peace until he unexpectedly marries their young, innocent friend, Jenny, whom they resolve to have revenge on by giving her cancer through their magic. The witches doubt their judgment after Jenny's death when Darryl flees town with her younger brother, Chris, apparently his lover. In his wake he leaves their relationships strained and their sense of self in doubt. Eventually they each summon their ideal men and leave town. The Widows of Eastwick, John Updike's sequel to The Witches of Eastwick, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in October 2008.

Literary significance and criticism

Some have expressed concern that the book may be misogynistic, as it seems to reinforce the patriarchal conceptions of women as witches and of women requiring a man for personal growth; others believe that the book may be more of a satire of such ideas.

At the same time, there were those who praised the novel as a departure from John Updike's previous novels. This is the first novel where he truly develops the female characters.

Film, television, and theatrical adaptations

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Witches of Eastwick" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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