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Literature / Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth

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Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth is a 1967 children's novel by E. L. Konigsburg.

Elizabeth is an only child, new in town, and the shortest kid in her class. She's also pretty lonely, until she meets Jennifer. Jennifer is... well, different. She's read Macbeth. She never wears jeans or shorts. She never says "please" or "thank you." And she says she is a witch.

It's not always easy being friends with a witch, but it’s never boring. At first an apprentice and then a journeyman witch, Elizabeth learns to eat raw eggs and how to cast small spells. And she and Jennifer collaborate on cooking up an ointment that will enable them to fly. That's when a marvelous toad, Hilary Ezra, enters their lives. And that's when trouble starts to brew.



  • Death by Newbery Medal: Subverted actually. The book won the 1968 Newbery Honor, but Hilary Ezra actually does survive.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Jennifer makes Elizabeth go through a lot of things to become a witch.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Jennifer is about to kill Hilary Ezra before Elizabeth stops her. Later on, Elizabeth thinks about it more and realizes Jennifer probably wouldn't have actually done it—she if she was going to, she wouldn't have waited so long to. She was just waiting for Elizabeth to stop her so she could pass the blame of it onto Elizabeth.
  • Long Title: Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth. E. L. Konigsburg is fond of such titles in general. The title refers to:
    • Jennifer: Elizabeth's best friend
    • Hecate: Queen of the witches in Macbeth
    • Macbeth: Macbeth, from Macbeth
    • William McKinley: A president of the U. S. of A. and the namesake of their school
    • Elizabeth: The protagonist
  • New Transfer Student: Elizabeth starts the book as the new kid at school, because her family just moved.
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  • Department of Redundancy Department: Jennifer sometimes, to Elizabeth's annoyance. It makes her feel like Jennifer thinks she's an idiot.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: The book's main focus is on the intense, all-consuming, and at times toxic friendship between Jennifer and Elizabeth. When they have a fight near the end, it's much like a break-up.
  • Team Pet: Hilary Ezra, their toad, who they keep as a familiar.

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