I’ve now officially finished writing the EPQ. I can’t express how much I’ve learned during this process and how much it’s taught me about academic investment into a passion project. While I’m not completely satisfied with the literary quality of the essay, everything I’ve written about has come from a place of fascination, interest and an incredibly detailed research investigation. It has helped my love of literature and its diverging structures (plays, poems, political and religous texts, novels and children’s literature) as well as introducing me to media texts that I may otherwise not have been exposed to (The Witch, The Craft, Bewitched etc.). Doing this project has fortified my decision to study English Literature as university, but also made me realise that I don’t want to limit myself to canonical texts and ideologies – comparing Beyonce to Shakespeare really was a highlight of this project! Being creative with this project was one of my favourite aspects about it. If I saw a connection between witch representations, there was nothing stopping me linking then in innovative ways that connotes cultural meanings and demonstrates similarities and differences between time periods.
Similarly, whilst I thought that this project would open me up to academic thinking, it did a lot more than intended. Witchcraft has fascinated me and while I have no religous or spiritual ties to its contemporary place in society, I have garnered a huge level of respect and interest for Neo-Pagans in the world today. Getting to speak to people whose lives are affected by witchcraft has opened my eyes to diversity in the world. It has become more than an acedemic project for me as I’ve realised how lucky I am to live in a part of the world where places such as Burley and Brighton share a history of folklore and mythology. Speaking to Maggie, Sylvie and Beryl was so interesting as not only did it bring the issue of witchcraft to life, but it helped my confidence in conversing with others.
I hope that I can utilise this project in my future, as part of an academic task or a personal activity, as witches remain fascinating characters in a modern society that is still conflicted with gender and cultural issues that demonise the foregin unknown. It is only by turning back to history and stories that have affected our society that we can recognise those same illusions haunting us. It may have been about the niche character of the witch, but it can be applied to so much more – I’m now inspired to read about monstrous women, even through women’s own portrayals that further explores how women see themselves in a society that projects their own archetypes upon them.