Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Analysis Part 2

Children’s Literature – November 30th, 2011 Harry Potter (continued) Criticism ? Thematic o Too dark, complex, adult ? Book 1 opens with a double murder ? Harry’s link with Voldemort o Censorship ? Parallels between banning and not saying Voldemort’s name ? How Harry Potter fits in children’s literature o Literary qualities ? Textual jokes – Page 15, Rowling didn’t know how popular her novels would become – Diagon Alley, funny, puny names – Albus Dumbledore ( Albus = White in Latin o Literary value ? Inter-textuality Boarding school story o Stock characters; bully, sneak, enemy, best friend, friendly teachers, vindictive master o Stock events; contract between home and initiation into new school, problems with uniform and equipment, making friends, getting into trouble, being uundeserving unpopular, saving the day – Sword and the Stone (1938), T. H White o Education of young Wart by Merlin; eventual discovery of his parentage; destiny as national hero; King Arthur o Sir Grummore Grummersum, Uther Pendragon – Fairy tales Cinderella; cruelty from step family, taken away, better off o Common plot of fairy tale ? Modest (male) protagonist ? Unaware of special qualities ? Departs form ? Must fulfill taskes (often 3, sometimes 7) – Troll, Fluffy, Devil’s Snare, key, chess game, potions puzzle, Quirrell ? Meet animals/friends that help protagonist ? Meet older person who gives valuable advice ? Overcomes an adversary ? Returns home – Romance quest o Search for stone o Search for identity, knowledge o Harry as Christian knight, acts quest in the name of good (God) – Philosopher’s Stone Myth; alchemy; elixir of life or transform metal into gold o Sought by Isaac Newton and Nicholas Flamel (real people) – Greek myth o Centaurs o Minerva McGonagall; Goddess of Wisdom o Fluffy, three headed dog, guarded gateway to hell; Cerberus, stationed at River Styx o Hercules 12th labour, kidnap dog o Orpheus and Psyche – Books in this course o Anne and Hermione; talking o Anne and Harry; family history, history in general o Harry and Wilbur o Harry/Ron and Tom/Huck; side kicks o Adult characters Adventures, may link with Jim Hawkins from Treasure Island; sense and quest/task to complete o Animals…? ? Literary qualities? ? Training for adult reading? ? Documents in a cruel history of childhood? o Contemporary views of childhood ? Drusley; cruelty ? Danger; quidditch ? Bullying; Malfoy ? Racism; muggle/half-blood/purblood ? Didactic and pedagogical o Hard work of learning magic o Mirror of Erised o Magic (used) for good; black and white presentation of usage of magic o Harry’s essential goodness o Dumbledore; 215, 219 Neville; 221 ? Rich imaginative world; childhood as a time of freedom and play o Quidditch o Hogwarts o Food o Mythology of wizards/witches ? Houses of Hogarts (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Slytherin) o Escape from harsh reality ? How does the book depart significantly from tradition? o Reality ? Realistic, identifiable setting – Not “Once upon a time” ? Split between muggle and magic world o Orphan ? Parents “get in the way of a good story” (Grumer) ? Kimball “their success ultimately becomes ours” o Love 216; “your mother died to save you…it was agony to touch a person marked by something so good” o Death ? 215; “to one as young as you…death is but the next adventure” ? Series – Many deaths – Young people die o Through battle against evil – Self-sacrificial cycle; Harry sacrifice for everyone, Lily for Harry ? More significantly part of the traditional or departs from it? ? Themes o Risk vs. Reward o Family o Love o Friendship, 132; “Hermione Granger become their friend” o Magic “…and learn until our brains all rot” Krystal, good luck with all your other finals!