Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Stepmothers

The Fairytale and Folktale cliché of the wicked stepmother is a Plot Device which serves to avoid the uncomfortable notion that biological mothers may also treat their children badly. The stories of Cinderella and Snow White offer classic examples. Modern Children's Fantasy has rehabilitated step-parents with more thoughtful treatments of emotional stress in merged families, as in Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Headless Cupid (1971; vt A Witch in the Family 1977 UK) and Diana Wynne Jones's The Ogre Downstairs (1974). [DRL]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.