J. K. Rowling
Young Literature in English – from Stevenson to Rowling
Many of the books considered classical children’s literature today, such as Peter Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan or the Boy Who Would Not Grow Up, The Wind in the Willow and Winnie the Pooh, are in fact stories that little children were told over the ages. Literary critics often questioned whether these books are truly worthy of being considered under children’s literature, and their research led them to conclude that there is far more value to these stories than mere entertainment for children.
The writings of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear reflect the cultural need during the Victorian era to understand the world from a child’s perspective. In their works, children were depicted as the epitome of innocence. Later in this period however, the increasing pressures of society and morality reached oppressive levels. Perhaps in response to these pressures, the focal point of an ideal childhood shifted during the Edwardian era when children’s writers created a new kind of hero — a selfish, rude and arrogant child immersedin fun and frolic all day, who refused to grow up and wanted to remain a playful child forever. The rise of the playboy hero image in the 1880s gave a further pushback to the earlier ideal of the innocent child. The irresponsible Prince Edward inadvertently boosted this image further. With the eventual onset of the war, youngsters were gripped by the fervour of martyrdom at a young age, because apparently life after childhood was no fun. “Nothing that happens after we are twelve matters very much” became the motto of this period. Two children’s authors who brought this morbidly fascinating image of youngsters to the fore were James Barrie and Kenneth Grahame.
While children’s authors in the Victorian era sought the ideal of harmony and enjoyment in their view of childhood, Edwardian authors went a step further, seeking to relive childhood even as adults to and bask forever in the bliss of childhood. As the earlier argument of morality and religious ideals began to recede, a new trend of spiritual, secular literature slowly took over. This idea of secularism in literature showed a fondness for nature worship and for Pan, the Greek god of nature who is depicted as half man, half demon. Barrie, Grahame and even Kipling were enchanted by this image of Pan. Barrie and Grahame had been brought up in a culture that was engulfed by the ideals of youth. Moreover, they were writing against the backdrop of the war. Under these circumstances, there was a prominent tone of escapism in their works, along with a desire to enjoy the present moment to the fullest, reflecting the psychological need of the hour.
Thus, Barrie gave life to Peter Pan who defeated Captain Hook, saying “I’m youth, I’m joy, I’m the little bird that has broken out of the egg”.
When Barrie was six years old, his thirteen-year-old brother David died in an accident. Their mother was overcome by shock and grief.She constantly mourned for David and obstinately continued to wait for his return, consequently neglecting Barrie and her other children. To make his mother happy, little Barrie started to live and act like David, talking like him and wearing his clothes, becoming the living version of David who was now ageless in death. Both David and Barrie’s growth thus remained stunted, though in different ways.
Barrie’s mental state is apparent in the name Peter Pan or the Boy Who Refused to Grow Up. This story tells a make-believe tale of the triumph of youth over old age. Peter Pan reflects the dream of an era that yearned to live in Neverland forever in a state of suspended youth. Peter Pan symbolises not only Barrie’s individual desires and wish to remain young forever, but those of contemporary society as a whole.
Kenneth Grahame’s most famous work The Wind in the Willows is an allegory of the Industrial Revolution and its impact on the British Empire. The lead characters in this book are the shy Mole, the clever Ratty, Badger, and the conceited, intrepid and zealous Toad. These animals talk and act like humans, but also possess the characteristics of their respective species.
Grahame wrote these stories for his son Alastair, a reckless and selfish boy who was nevertheless his father’s favourite. In the character of Toad, Grahame has infused these aspects of Alastair’s nature. Toad’s arrogance, Mole’s gullibility and Rat’s intelligence make the story enjoyable.
Grahame was a contemporary of Barrie and was equally smitten by the image of Pan. Just like Barrie, in his private life, Grahame was the typical Edwardian man-child, fascinated by the idea of Peter Pan-esque agelessness.The Wind in the Willows was at once influenced by the contrasting emotions of faith and fear. While the story was cast in the escapist mould of losing oneself in the freedom of childhood, the fear that industrialisation would put an end to rural life as well as the boundless faith the societyhad in nature added yet another dimension to the tale. The motorcar in the story is a humorous depiction of the apprehensions that not only Grahame but the whole society had towards industrialisation and the inevitable changes and modernisation it would engender.
About 15 years before The Wind in the Willows, Grahame had published a small collection of short stories called Pagan Papers, which also involved the character of Pan and depicted the struggle of Londoners to escape from the industrialised world that had distanced itself from nature. Grahame devised a means of escaping from the sordid reality into the joys of nature, which he proffered to his readers. Thus, his books came to be a true representation of the circumstances of his period. His books The Golden Age and Dream Days were set in the 1890s. Grahame’s pathbreaking treatise on childhood in both these books received much acclaim. The success of The Wind in the Willows followed in the wake of the laurels earned by both these books.
A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh was published around 1920. The storm of the war had settled, and there was a widespread desire to enjoy life in the post-war world. The sun was setting on both Victorian and Edwardian ideals of childhood. Against this backdrop, Milne devised a fantasy world worthy of the legacy of Wonderland and Neverland, and created one of the most popular children’s characters of all time. The two Winnie the Pooh books are about a young boy named Christopher Robin. Milne named the characters after his son and the young lad’s stuffed teddy bear. Christopher’s teddy bear is the main character of this story. Milne hadhad a happy childhood. As a young man, he was enamoured by Peter Pan and The Wind in the Willows, and he looked up to Barrie and Grahame. However, Milne’s experiences and intentions behind his writing were quite different from theirs. Barrie and Grahame’s writings served as a vent for their private sorrows, to overcome which they weaved a wish-fulfilling fantasy world of childhood dreams. In the tale of Pooh however, the predominant tone reflects not unfulfilled desires but Milne’s satisfaction with life. Unlike Barrie and Grahame, he did not set out to seek his identity in childhood fancies. Peter Pan, Rat, Mole and Badger were characters born out of Barrie and Grahame’s sorrows and disappointments. But the characters in Pooh were not similarly related to Milne on a psychological level. Yet, while writing for the post-war generation, his longing for the golden period before the war compelled him to draw upon the fantasy worlds created by Barrie and Grahame in describing the simple joys of Pooh’s pleasant little world.
Adults who read Pooh’s stories found simply the joys of reliving their childhood. These stories were meant for purely innocent entertainment of children.
The ideas of childhood briefly described in Milne’s two poetry collections — When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six — are fully fleshed out in the fantasy world of Winnie the Pooh. In this world, just like in Wonderland and Neverland, the little boy Christopher Robin rules the roost. He is omniscient in this world, and his toys are his companions. The characters of these toy companions embody the various characteristics and moods of young children — the cowardly Piglet, the bouncy Tigger, and self-centred, loving, innocent, greedy Pooh all show different shades of a child’s mind. Constantly eating honey (or “hunny”) and confused about the actions of adults, Pooh is an embodiment of every child’s psyche. Through his characters, Milne underlines the endearing silliness of young children. In Wonderland, Alice tries to find her own identity; in contrast, the toys in Milne’s Hundred Acres Wood have forgotten their identity. Pooh knocks at the door of his own house and wonders why no one is opening the door.
“What a long time whoever lives here is answering this door.”And he knocked again. “But Pooh,” said Piglet, “it’s your own house!” “Oh!” said Pooh. “So it is,” he said. “Well, let’s go in.”
This book is full of fun and merriment, jokes and pranks. Milne uses the medium of fantasy in the book to criticise the artificiality and pretentiousness of the adult world. In Pooh’s carefree world, the only thing that the characters fear is growing up and leaving the children’s world behind, an eventuality from which there would be no escape. This fear is palpable in the last scene of the The House at Pooh Corner. Once Christopher Robin starts going to school, his world of toys begins to crumble. Taking leave of the toys symbolises taking leave of childhood, and with this farewell, Milne knowing or unknowingly took leave of the fantasy genre as well. This book earned Milne and his son a great deal of popularity, but it came at a heavy cost. This popularity proved damaging to the happy relationship between father and son, and to Christopher Milne’s future life. Both realised belatedly that being suspended in any phase of life is possible only in fantasy. Once hailed as a veritable psychologist of young minds, by the end of his life Milne was subjected to utter misapprehension by critics as well as his own son. With Milne’sheart-rending experience, the golden age of children’s literary writing came to a tragic end.
This literary trend was disrupted by Edith Nesbit, who is known as the pioneer of modern children’s literature. She broke the mould of writing about imaginary worlds and sought to give young readers a taste of the world in its raw reality, and to teach them to accept and overcome the inevitable bitter truths of human life. Her thoughts are conveyed to young readers in simple but powerful words. In her famous books The Story of the Treasure Seekers and The Would Be Goods, she depicts the ordinary struggles of a middleclass family named Bastable. The Railway Children and Five Children were also among her immensely popular books. Her unique style of writing directly or indirectly influenced many future writers. Of these, a name that certainly merits mention is J. K. Rowling.
Even as a child, Rowling was fond of writing fantasy fiction. Her childhood was troubled by her mother’s illness and her own differences of opinion with her father and their eventual estrangement. She has herself admitted that the all-knowing bookworm Hermione in the Harry Potter series has shades of the eleven-year-old Rowling. In 1990, while travelling by train from London to Manchester, she was struck by the idea of a story about a small child in a school of wizardry. She then thought of the name Harry, and all the other characters and events started taking shape in her mind. While she was writing the book, Rowling’s mother passed away. Saddened by the loss of her mother, she vented her grief in the book through Harry’s sorrows.
Rowling paints an extremely realistic picture of human nature, human mind and its emotions, and the complexity of human relations. Thus, her books are not merely entertaining thrillers and fantasy novels but transcend the boundaries of the genre,becoming a philosophical critique of human ethos. Rowling’s style of writing is extremely powerful; her readers maintain that the joy of reading the books is only partly recreated in watching the movies based on them. Take for example Dumbledore’s statement in the third book, “it’s not our abilities that show who we truly are, it’s our choices”, or Voldemort’s speech on the nature of power in the last book, or the final poignant message that death is ultimately defeated if we continue to love and trust the people we’ve lost. Through her writings, Rowling has carved out a significant niche for children’s literature in the 21st century.
Finally, the currently popular children’s books such as Famous Five also deserve a mention. These books give a new twist to the old fairy tale format,which is perhaps the reason for their continued demand among young readers.
Nevertheless, with her rich writing style, J. K. Rowling has captivated young and old readers alike, firmly establishing the significance of children’s literature in the 21st century in the gamut of mainstream literature.
You Should not Fear of Failure
Failure Is Not the End of the Story
Most people don’t reach their dreams, not because of failure, but because they give up. Those who succeed, don’t stop at one failure. They don’t stop at 10 failures. They don’t stop at one hundred, one thousand, or a million. They say “this is my goal, and I am going to do whatever I can to achieve it”
Failure makes winners stronger, and hungrier. But it makes most give up. Winners don’t enjoy failure, but they don’t let it stop them. Failure is not the end of the story, it is the start of the comeback story.
Failing can be unpleasant. Failing can be embarrassing. Failing can be one of the greatest ways to learn from our mistakes. We experience defeat daily. Every person in this room has failed at some point in their life. You’ve failed … I’ve failed too.
Some people give up after failing on the first try. Some people fear failure so much, they never even try. And some fail over and over and over again until they get it right. I’m sure you failed the first time you tried to ride a bike. I did. Some of us may have even fallen off. Did you become scared of the pain or the embarrassment? Or did you keep on trying until you got it right? It took me years to learn to ride because I was scared of falling or never being able to. It was only when my dad told me: if you don’t try, you can’t succeed, that I got back on that bike and didn’t give up until I eventually learned.
Failure can be discouraging, but it can also benefit you in the future. It means you have a story to tell, you learn from it, and you develop mental strength.
Eminem, one of the most successful rappers of the 21st century. The first time he went on stage, he got stage fright and he couldn’t speak. He was mocked, jeered and booed off the stage. He never gave up, despite the fear and embarrassment.
His father abandoned him, he was abused by his mother and grew up in a trailer park, but his passion for music was so strong that he channelled all his emotions into it, and became not only the highest selling rapper but also the best selling musician of this century.
Despite the defeat he experienced throughout his life, he did not give up. He learned from his mistakes and his failure and used it as his motivation. In one of his songs, he says “Success is my only … option, failure’s not.” He tells his story through his music and encourages his audience not to give up trying when something doesn’t go right the first time.
Another great example: J.K. Rowling. Most people think of Harry Potter when they think of J.K. Rowling, but they don’t think about how she got to where she is now.
Whilst she was writing the first Harry Potter book, she struggled financially as a single mother and battled depression. During this time, she said that she was “the biggest failure [she] knew”. Her completed manuscript of the first Harry Potter book was turned down by a number of publishers before she got a book deal.
Her series of seven books has since sold more than 450 million copies, won countless awards, been made into movies, and it has transformed her life.
Many of us regard failure as a bad thing, but if you want to succeed in life, you have to be prepared to fail a few times until you reach the end goal. Almost every successful person you meet will say that their failures are what led them to success.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling: Literary Analysis
Analysing Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling is an emotion-filled, fantasy novel with the perfect amount of rises and falls that leave you reading so quickly, you can’t turn the pages fast enough. It’s about Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts after the rise of Voldemort. Harry struggles this year with multiple things in addition to Voldemort such as; the O.W.L’s and an obstructive Ministry of Magic. Reading this for the first time was a real treat and due to this project, I analyzed it thoroughly. I came up with a theme for this story that almost every human if they’re honest, can relate to. We miss things more when they are taken from us. I believe that the personal loss J.K. Rowling was feeling during this time is presented in the book, perhaps unintentionally. While she was writing this book she lost her mother, whom she had a close relationship with. Given this, I believe she used her personal experiences to come up with her solemn theme. Using the plot, point of view, and characterization I will explain how this theme is strongly represented in this book.
To start, there are many reasons why the plot is a major factor in the theme of this story. Harry is in his fifth year at Hogwarts right after the loss of Cedric, his dear friend, and the rise of Voldemort. While he is grieving the loss of his friend he also has to worry about; when Voldemort will attack, his new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, why he’s having so many nightmares, and whether or not he should stop said nightmares. First off, Harry lost his friend, Cedric. While Cedric was alive he and Harry were competitors. They both wanted to win the Goblet of Fire, they both wanted the girl, and they both wanted to prove they were the best wizards at Hogwarts. Then suddenly Cedric dies a horrific death at the hand of the Dark Lord and Harry is struck with grief. Secondly, Harry has to deal with his new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Umbridge. Umbridge is a nasty woman from the Ministry of Magic who is set on making Harry’s school experience miserable. Normally, when Harry is away from Hogwarts, he misses it with an intensity nothing can compare to because that’s his home! Situations now have changed that. His school life is so miserable we read that he misses his home at Privet Drive, with his Muggle family. Lastly, Harry has to deal with his nightmares and what they mean about the position of Lord Voldemort. In previous books, when Harry was struggling with something he wrote a letter to his godfather, Sirius Black. But, ever since Professor Umbridge, Harry cannot send any letters without them being screened and scrutinized. He is extremely baffled by the dreams and worries about Voldemort, but he can’t talk to anyone about it, which makes him miss Sirius even more. In conclusion, in the plot, we see multiple examples of our theme that helps move the story along quite well. Harry misses Cedric because he died, Privet Drive because Hogwarts is a mess, and Sirius because of his neverending worries about Lord Voldemort.
Another angle is the point of view. In this story, the author uses third-person point of view. I believe this helps propel the story along effectively. Third-person point of view allows us to see into Harry’s mind and know everything that is happening directly to and around him. What it doesn’t allow is the knowledge of other characters. We don’t know what’s happening in the minds of any character other than Harry and that really builds suspense. If we knew what was happening in the mind of other characters, say Lord Voldemort, some of the events that occurred wouldn’t have been a shock and wouldn’t have had such a strong emotional reaction. For example, the death of Sirius Black. If we knew that the “vision” of Sirius being tortured by Voldemort was an illusion before Harry, we might have been able to see his death coming and wouldn’t have reacted as strongly. Furthermore, if the point of view wasn’t the third person, the theme wouldn’t apply to us. As a reader, we don’t miss Sirius until he dies. When it happens in the story, however, most people cry and immediately begin missing him. As you can see, that is how the point of view relates to the theme.
Finally, the last element I will focus on is characterization. In The Order of the Phoenix, Harry is dramatically different than he is in any story thus far. Because of this, the whole story has a depressing and/or angry feeling about it. He has suffered through so much loss and has an underlying fear that he’s about to lose more. In addition to that, he is also feeling helpless. He wants to help the Order of the Phoenix stop Voldemort, but he doesn’t know how. He creates his own group of students so he can teach some defensive spells, thinking that this will help his helplessness. It turns out it did help a bit, but with him worrying about getting caught the whole time, it takes away from that feeling. These feelings throughout the story are what help propel it along. Without this, the story would be a whole roller coaster of feelings, leaving the reader feeling dizzy and unsatisfied. All of these emotions Harry is feeling makes the reader tune into the emotions and helps keep them invested in the story effectively. All in all, characterization plays a big part in the continuation of the story.
In conclusion, the plot, point of view, and characterization support the Order of the Phoenix immensely. First, our theme is, we miss things more when they are taken from us. Without the plot showing us multiple examples of it, our theme could have been hard to decipher. Without the third-person point of view our story, the theme wouldn’t have applied to the reader because we wouldn’t have been affected so strongly. And without the strong use of characterization, we would have been disinterested in the direction of the story. To sum it up, we could use other literary terms to analyze this story. Literary terms like; setting, tone, symbolism, or structure. All of these things would have worked, but I believe that the elements I focused on were the most effective. The Order of the Phoenix is a great example of using literary terms to support the theme and I found it to be quite entertaining to do so.
Hero’s Journey in the Harry Potter Book Series
The story of Harry Potter begins as Harry Potter is about to celebrate his eleventh birthday. All of his other birthdays have come and gone rather plainly and uneventful. The Durselys whom he lives with have never given Harry a birthday present and constantly abuse Harry both physically and mentally. Harry begins to receive mysterious letters that his aunt and uncle will not allow him to read, he receives so many that the family relocates to a shack on an island. While at the shack Harry is visited by Hagrid who tells Harry that he is a wizard and that he is to attend his first year of Wizarding School at Hogwarts this year. Harry is whisked away and taken to Diagon Alley to buy supplies for his first year of school, it is here that Harry learns that his family was murdered by a dark wizard named Voldemort. Harry arrives at Hogwarts and is sorted into the Gryfindor house where he befriends Hermoine Granger and Ronald Weasley. In his first year alone Harry overcomes obstacles that most advanced wizards will never face. He defeats a mountain troll, sneaks past a giant three headed dog, overcomes trials and finds the sorcerer’s stone which grants immortality to whoever wields it. Voldemort was also searching for the stone leading to a showdown between the dark wizard and Harry. When Voldemort tries to attack Harry he is turned to ash simply by touching him. When Harry awakens in the hospital after the encounter he believes that he has defeated Voldemort. He is soon greeted by the Headmaster Albus Dumbledore however, who tells him differently. As he will soon find out in his second year the battle with Voldemort has just begun.
Harrys second year begins when he meets a house elf named Dobby who warns him not to go to school this year. Dobby steals Harry’s letters from his friends, seals the entrance to the train to Hogwarts and courses a bludger to attack Harry all in an attempt to make sure harry doesn’t attend his second year. We soon find out that Dobby’s warnings were warranted when Harry learns a secret chamber in the school containing a monster has been opened. The monster begins attacking those who are not of pure magical blood. Harry eventually finds the chamber and inside it he finds a mysterious man and lying at his feet is Ginny Weasly.The man reveals to harry that he is Tom Riddle, more commonly known as Voldemort. He tells Harry that he manipulated Ginny into opening the chamber of secrets through a diary that contained his memory and allowed him to physically manifest himself. Riddle calls forth the monster that is revealed to be a basilisk to kill Harry. Faux, Dumbledore’s pet phoenix, comes to aid Harry by clawing out the basilisks eyes and also gives him the sword of Gryffindor. Harry uses the sword to slay the basilisk and removes one of its fangs. Harry uses the fang to stab the diary which destroys it and the memory of Tom Riddle.
Harry returns for his third year of Hogwarts to learn that a killer named Sirius Black is on the loose and is coming for him. Harry also learns that Sirius black handed his parents over to Voldemort and also happens to be his godfather. Whilst on the train to Hogwarts creatures called dementors board and search the train for Sirius black. The dementors mistakenly attack Harry but he is saved by the new dark against the dark arts teacher Professor Lupin. Throughout the year Lupin trains harry to overcome his fear of the dementors and teaches him how to fight them off. One night whilst Harry, Ron, and Hermione are out on the grounds Ron is attacked by a large dog and dragged underneath the base of a large tree. Harry and Hermione follow him through a tunnel at the base of the tree and it leads them to the shrieking shack. When they enter the shrieking shack they find that the dog who attacked Ron was actually Sirius Black Harry attacks Black but is disarmed by Lupin who appears to be friends with Black. Lupin reveals that the reason Harry’s parents are dead is not because of Black but that Scabbers, Ron’s pet rat is to blame. Black reveals that scabbers is actually Peter Pettigrew, who used to be a trusted friend before betraying Harry’s parents. Harry agrees to take Pettigrew back to Hogwarts to hand him over to the dementors however, Lupin is forced to change into a werewolf because the moon is full. The change provides a distraction and Pettigrew escapes. Sirius attempts to hold off Lupin and is injured. Lupin runs off when called away by what appeared to be another werewolf’s howl. Dementors swarm the area in an attempt to catch Black and Harry fends them off with a patronous charm. The fight drains the energy out of Harry and he collapses. When he awakens he goes to visit Ron in the hospital wing. Whilst there harry learns from Headmaster Dumbledore that Sirius is going to be executed in the morning. Hermione reveals to harry that she has a method for turning time backwards. Hermione and Harry travel backwards in time and manage to save Sirius from execution.
Harry returns to Hogwarts the following year to learn that Hogwarts is playing host to the Twi-Wizard Tournament. The tournament is a very dangerous set of tasks with a history of casualties, therefore it is open only to students in their final year at Hogwarts. Somehow Harry’s name is pulled from the goblet of fire and he is forced to compete in the tournament. Harry must compete in a dangerous set of tasks that include stealing an egg from a dragon, rescuing Ron from an army of mer-people and navigating a dangerous maze. At the end of the maze Harry grabs the Twi-Wizard Cup which turns out to be a portal to a strange cemetery. While he is in the cemetery Harry is captured by Peter Pettigrew, who forcibly takes his blood and pours it into a cauldron. Pettigrew also dumps what seems to be an infant into the cauldron, the infant emerges as a fully restored Voldemort. Voldemort forces Harry to face off against him, during the battle Voldemort’s wand cracks and his past victims emerge from the wand. Harry’s mother and father emerge from the wand, Harry’s father tells him that they are able to buy him enough time to make it back to the cup and return to Hogwarts.
The summer following the Twi-Wizard Tournament Harry is attacked by dementors and is forced to conjure the patronus charm in front of his cousin Dudley. This is a clear violation of wizarding law and Harry is forced to stand trial. Harry is eventually cleared of all charges and returns to Hogwarts. His return however is not celebrated by everyone, as some people believe that Harry Potter made up the story of being attacked by Voldemort the previous year. The ministry of magic believes that Hogwarts is becoming a problem and places one of its own employees Dolores Umbridge as the new defense against the dark arts teacher. Dolores refuses to teach any practical magic and implements totalitarian policies in the school. This forces harry to create a secret club of students who want to learn defensive magic. Harry names the club Dumbledore’s Army and he draws in a large number of students. Throughout the year Harry begins to have visions and dreams that come true, Dumbledore reveals that these are the thoughts of Voldemort creeping into Harry’s mind. Harry has a vision of Sirius being tortured at the ministry of magic so he and Dumbledore’s Army go to rescue him. When they arrive they realize they have stumbled into a trap and a battle ensues. During the battle Sirius Black is killed by one of Voldemort’s followers, Harry chases her and is confronted by Voldemort. Dumbledore arrives just in time to save harry and engages in a ferocious duel with Voldemort. The duel ends in a stalemate as the Auroros and the minister of magic arrive just in time to see Voldemort flee, confirming that Harry’s story is true.
Harry returns home for a summer vacation, until Dumbledore whisks him away to a seemingly deserted house. Whilst there harry meets Professor Slughorn who had cleverly disguised himself as an armchair. With Harry’s help Dumbledore convinces Slughorn to return to Hogwarts to teach potions class. Dumbledore reveals to harry that slug horn is keeping a very important memory that he needs Harry to Acquire. Harry eventually retrieves the memory and plays it back in the pensive, a basin that is able to view memories. The memory reveals that Voldemort had come to Slughorn while he was a student and asked Slughorn about a piece of dark magic called a horcrux. Slughorn told Voldemort that the horcrux splits the soul into pieces allowing the wizard to theoretically live forever. Dumbledore reveals to Harry that all of the horcruxes must be destroyed in order to kill Voldemort. Dumbledore takes harry to find a horcrux and after undergoing a physically draining test return to Hogwarts empty handed. When they return to the castle they see find that the castle has been infiltrated by followers of Voldemort led by Severus Snape one of the teachers at Hogwarts. Snape kills Dumbledore, Harry chases after him but is unable to stop him. Following Dumbledore’s death the responsibility of destroying the horcruxes now rest on Harry’s shoulders. Harry sets out with Hermione and Ron to find and destroy the horcruxes. After destroying the first four horcruxes Harry has a vision of Hogwarts and realizes that the fifth horcrux is at Hogwarts. Hogwarts has become a prison camp run by Professor Snape. The students are ecstatic to see Harry and eager to help him find the horcrux. With the help of one of the professors Harry is able to push Snape out and reclaim the school. Voldemort learns that Harry is at the school and brings an army prepared to attack unless they give up Harry. The students and teachers fortify the castle in preparation for the inevitable battle whilst harry searches for the horcrux. Harry is able to find the horcrux and destroy it. When Voldemort learns of this he commences the attack on the school. Harry witnesses Voldemort kill Snape and Snape begs harry to collect his tears and view his memories in the pensive. After viewing the memories in the pensive Harry realizes that he had been loyal to Dumbledore all along. The memories revealed that Snape was in love with Harry’s mother and that Snape had watched over Harry throughout his years in school. Harry also learned that he himself was a horcrux and in order to defeat Voldemort he would also have to die. Voldemort challenges harry to a duel in the forbidden forest where Harry is killed. When Harry dies he awakens at the train station where Dumbledore is waiting for him. He sees the dying part of Voldemort that lived within him and expresses empathy for him. Dumbledore answers some of Harry’s questions before offering him the choice to stay or go and fulfil his destiny. Harry returns to the land of the living for a final showdown with Voldemort. After a lengthy battle with Voldemort Harry finally defeats him and destroys him forever. After defeating Voldemort, Harry moves on to lead a semi normal life. He marries Ginny Weasley and has two children with her and pursues a career as an Auror.
The steps of the hero’s journey in Harry Potter
The call occurs when Hagrid tells Harry he is a wizard and invites him to return to Hogwarts with him. The call could also be interpreted as Harry receiving the letters from Hogwarts. This is his first glimpse of things to come and the moment he realizes that something odd is happening.
The refusal of the call is simply when Harry says “I can’t be a wizard I’m just Harry” Hagrid challenges Harry’s statement and asks him if he has ever done anything that he cannot explain. After this brief exchange it is revealed by Harry’s Aunt that Harry’s mother was a witch. It is at this point that Harry accepts that he is a wizard and departs with Hagrid.
Supernatural Aid- Throughout the series Harry is aided by countless people and magical creatures. Hagrid is perhaps one of the most constant sources of help throughout the series. He is the first magic being that Harry Encounters and he helps harry in his first steps to becoming a wizard. Hagrid shows Harry where to get his wand and other essential items for his first school year. Throughout the series Hagrid watches over harry, offers advice and even carry’s Harry’s seemingly dead body back to Hogwarts after he is killed by Voldemort. Another continuous source of supernatural aid comes from the house elf Dobby. After harry frees Dobby in the second installment of the series Dobby returns several times to help Harry. He helps Harry figure out what his second task in the goblet of fire is and he helps Harry escape Voldemort’s clutches in the final chapter of the series. Like Hagrid, Dobby provides information on where to get a certain magical artifact that will help him on his quest to defeat Voldemort. While Dobby doesn’t supply the horocrux directly he helps to secure information on its whereabouts. Another notable supernatural aid for Harry is faux the phoenix. Faux comes to Harry in the chamber of secrets and blinds the basilisk so that it may not kill Harry with its gaze. Faux also provides him with yet another magical artifact; the sword of Gryffindor. Harry uses the sword to defeat the basilisk.
Crossing the threshold and threshold guardians- Harry first crosses the threshold when he enters Diagon Alley. When harry enters Diagon Alley he is abandoning the muggle world he knows for a world of magic totally unknown to him. Olivander may be seen as a threshold guardian in Diagon Alley as he sort of tests Harry to see which wand is suitable for him. Without meeting with Olivander it would be impossible for Harry to continue his journey. Harry crosses the threshold again when he enters platform 9 and ¾. At the platform Harry is again tested and must figure out how to get onto the platform to continue his journey. Harry crosses the threshold once more when he enters the dining hall at Hogwarts. The sorting hat acts as a threshold guardian as he tests Harry and measures which house he would be best suited for. Harry has to examine himself and makes the choice not to be sorted into Syltherin. It is essential that Harry crossed this threshold or it would not have been possible to continue his journey.
The true belly of the whale moment occurs in the first instalment of the series. After Harry sneaks past yet another threshold guardian fluffy the three headed dog to undergo a series of trials before facing off against Voldemort for the first time. When Harry enters the chamber where Voldemort is waiting for him, it is sort of like the hero entering the temple. He has become dead to time. Here is where Harry’s transformation truly begins, after defeating Voldemort for the first time. When Harry awakens after the struggle there is no turning back, his initiation is complete and he has truly left his ordinary life behind and started on the path to fulfilling his destiny.
Harry faces many trials on his road to defeating Voldemort. In his first year alone Harry must face a mountain troll, survive the forbidden forest, and overcome three tests to face off against Voldemort. In the chamber of secrets Harry has a duel with Malfoy, journeys into the forest to search for answers about the chamber of secrets and finally faces off with the basilisk and Tom Riddle in the chamber of secrets. In the third installment Harry overcomes his fear of the dementors and fends off a horde of them in an effort to protect Sirius Black. Harry must also go back in time to save Sirius and Buckbeak the hippogriff from execution. In his fourth year Harry faces the Twi-Wizard Tournament where he must face a dragon, save his friends and navigate a maze where he is transported to a cemetery to face off against Voldemort yet again. Harry’s greatest trials occur in his seventh year when he must track down six horocruxes and destroy them so that Voldemort will be forced to face him as a mortal man. These trials take a huge toll on Harry’s sanity and eventually culminate with his death in the forbidden forest.
Meeting with the goddess / mother goddess. I believe Harry’s meeting with the goddess moment is when his mother gives her life for him. This is the very definition of unconditional love and the act itself protects Harry and saves his life again during his first encounter with Voldemort. Hermione may also be seen as a mother goddess figure as she is constantly helping Harry along the way and it is clear that harry loves her in a plutonic manner.
I believe Harry experiences temptation when he realizes his feelings for Ginny. His concern for her is a distraction as the journey to defeat Voldemort is about to begin. Harry overcomes this temptation when he breaks up with Ginny to protect her from harm before he begins his journey to destroy Voldemort’s horcruxes.
There are several possible moments for atonement within the Harry Potter series. Harry has the chance to speak with his father briefly at in the goblet of fire when dueling Voldemort in the graveyard. He also speaks with his father just before dying in the last movie of the series his father reassures him that he is ready. However I believe that the main father figure for Harry Potter is Dumbledore and that perhaps the atonement is when harry believes that Dumbledore has forsaken him/ is ignoring him in the sixth instalment and is reconciled when Dumbledore reveals that he has been hunting horcuxes and asks for Harry to help him. I also believe that Dumbledore’s death is a sort of atonement and turning point for Harry that motivates him to find the remaining horcruxes and defat Voldemort. The next two are arguable but I think have a good case can be made. Snape- Snape is constantly looking after Harry throughout the series and helps him along in several instances. Harry does not realize until Snape’s final moments that Snape’s has been a silent father to him Harry realizes through watching Snape’s memories that Harry’s best interest had always been his concern and ends up naming his child partly after him. Voldemort- While Voldemort is certainly not a father figure to Harry, he is a huge part of his life and is literally a piece of Harry. When Harry sees Voldemort’s weekend shriveled form when he dies he even admits to feeling sorry for Voldemort. In the final battle Harry even says to Voldemort calling him by his first name “Let’s finish this Tom, the way we always have… Together” to me this shows a certain level of respect and realization that a 17 year journey and relationship (no matter how volatile) is finally coming to an end.
Apotheosis – The apotheosis of the story occurs when harry goes to face Voldemort in the forbidden forest. Harry dies so that the piece of Voldemort inside him also dies. Harry enters a purgatory state where he meets professor Dumbledore who reassures and answers questions that Harry has before sending him back for the final showdown against Voldemort.
The ultimate boon occurs when Harry defeats Voldemort. He has finally fulfilled the prophecy and achieved the goal of his journey. By defeating Voldemort he has a great responsibility lifted and is finally free to live out his life the way he chooses.
The Rescue from without. While it isn’t explicitly stated in the book or movie series, I think it is safe to assume that Ginny rescues harry and helps him return to a “normal life” Harry has suffered greatly along his journey and lost a lot as most heroes do. I would expect that he would have trouble settling into a normal life and I believe Ginny helps him do this which is apparent through their eventual marriage and raising of children.
Master of two worlds. Harry becomes a master of two worlds as he is connected to both the muggle world and the wizarding world. In the epilogue he is content with his normal life with Ginny and his children while also working as a successful auror hunting dark wizards.
The Freedom to live. Before the defeat of Voldemort Harry lived under a lot of pressure. He was referred to as the chosen one and was seen as a savior of sorts. Harry never seemed to want the attention and didn’t always believe in himself along the way. He seemed to crave a normal wizarding life and had aspirations to be an Auror. Having already died in his battle with Voldemort, he is free from the fear of death. After defeating Voldemort he has finally gained the freedom to live his life the way he chooses.
Morally Ambiguous Themes of the Harry Potter Book Series
J. K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was published in 1998. While the popular series has a sort of cult-following, with seven books, eight movies, tons of merchandise, and even a theme park, there are many people that disagree with key elements of the series. Many believe that this story should be banned, especially in schools where impressionable children will be reading them. Conservative Christians, for example, would say that Harry Potter is morally ambiguous or, having unclear morals and a lack of clarity in ethical decision-making. That is, when an issue, situation, or question has moral dimensions or implications, but the decidedly “moral” action to take is unclear, either due to conflicting principles, ethical systems, or situational perspectives. Something that I found that Rowling suggests through her story is that the problem is that the battle between good and evil cannot be fought when the lines between the two are blurred.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone seems to begin with clear distinctions between good and evil. The eleven year old main character, Harry Potter, and the wise Professor Dumbledore are seen as wholly good, doing the right thing throughout the beginning of this story. The main source of conflict and the antagonist in the book is Lord Voldemort. Voldemort epitomizes evil and villainy, as he is the murderer of Harry’s parents and a creature destined to kill Harry and destroy Hogwarts. His short description in the beginning of the novel alludes to his evil presence throughout. Dumbledore, the epitome of goodness and benevolence, is the man describing Voldemort, illustrating a subtle battle between good and evil at the onset of the series. This is where the issue of moral ambiguity comes in. While we see these characters as completely and wholly good or evil, Rowling complicates things over the course of the narrative by creating a few morally ambiguous characters.
From the start of Sorcerer’s Stone, Professor Snape is presented to be a malignant follower of Lord Voldemort, and Harry and friends are only too ready to believe that their Potions teacher is completely evil. For example, in chapter eleven, during a quidditch match, Harry’s broom flies out of control, it seems to be controlled by an evil force, outside his control. Hermione spies Snape from across the stands staring at Harry, as if he were placing an evil spell on the broom. She sets his robes on fire, destroying any possible spell that may have come from him. It is later discovered that Snape was actually trying to protect Harry. (Rowling 189-91) Also, When Harry sees Snape seemingly threaten Quirrell, he believes Quirrell to be good and Snape to be evil. He informs his friends that they must safeguard the good Quirrell from the evil Snape, in order to save the Sorcerer’s Stone.
In actuality, though, it is the seemingly benevolent Professor Quirrell who is doing the bidding of Lord Voldemort. Professor Quirrell illustrates the results of an overweening greed and desire for power, a willingness to pay any price to acquire it even a willingness to align himself with-and surrender his soul to-the “Dark Side,” a diabolically evil force (Schakel 185). When Harry sees Quirrell inside the final chamber, he comes face to face with evil’s helper. Quirrell is hosting Voldemort in his turban and plans to destroy Harry. Harry must do whatever necessary to prevent the evil Voldemort from stealing the Sorcerer’s Stone, for he will use it for evil instead of for good. As Harry is physically fighting with the two-faced monster of Quirrell and Voldemort, he is literally fighting the strong evil spirit that killed his parents and is trying to kill him. When he places his hand on Quirrell’s face, it burns, illustrating that good will overturn evil in the end. (Rowling 288-295) Later on, Harry asks Dumbledore why Quirrell failed to kill him. In response, Dumbledore tells the story of Harry’s mother’s death, which had saved Harry’s life: “If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love…Quirrell, full of hatred, greed, and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good” (Rowling 299). Basically, love is a pure, good thing that serves as protection and strength to defeat evil throughout the Harry Potter series.
I believe that through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Rowling argues that the concepts of good and evil are too complex to be expressed in black-and-white terms, and each character has some element of good and evil in their nature. The problem is, Rowling suggests, how can a battle be fought between good and evil when the lines between the two are so blurry? An important distinction to make is that ”good” characters sometimes do “evil” things. This, of course, doesn’t make these actions right. These characters still get punished for their actions, often by losing house points. Harry and his friends argue, break rules and don’t listen to professors throughout the entire book. Throughout Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, there are many instances where characters face their fears and stand up for what they believe in. These scenes encourage bravery, love, and courage to do what one thinks is right. One such example would be the scene that takes place on Halloween night. There was an troll loose in the school, so the students were instructed to remain in their dorms. Ron and Harry did not go back to their dorm as they were told. Instead, they chose to disobey authority and face the troll in order to save Hermione (Rowling 172-177). Harry and friends also directly go against authority figures while confronting Voldemort. Although they save the school, they still did an “evil” thing by disobeying. While the characters could be seen as “evil” for disobey authority, I see “good” characters that chose to stand up for their beliefs of what was right. While it is good to endorse themes of friendship and bravery, I believe that it was a good thing that Rowling still showed the characters getting punished for their disobedience. Could it be possible that Rowling wanted to show the reader that breaking the rules isn’t always wrong, but there will still be consequences for our actions?
In his article, Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis, Peter Schakel discusses how the Chronicles of Narnia series is more morally acceptable to the conservative christian audience because it presents good and evil as stark opposites, which children have no difficulty in differentiating. There is no moral ambiguity in this story. The Narnia books also present witches of any kind as consistently on the evil side (Schakel 178). Different from Narnia, the Harry Potter books show both good and evil witches and wizards. However, the Potter books, like the Chronicles of Narnia, include dark magic, the “Dark Arts,” the “Dark Side” (Rowling, chap. 16), and always treat it, like the Chronicles, as a representation of evil, of “going bad,” of making self and power the center of one’s life. At several points in this Harry Potter book, the students of Hogwarts are constantly warned away from experimenting with, or even showing interest in, dark magic (Schakel 185).
While Narnia may offer a more morally clear story, that doesn’t mean that Harry Potter is without morals. The characters and story of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone demonstrate that good and evil exist, though the lines between them, in the books and in real life, are not as clear as the conservative Christians I reference would like for them to be. As the characters in Harry Potter show, one must choose to side with good or evil. As quoted in the second Harry Potter book, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities” (Chamber chap. 18).
Success Story of J.k. Rowling
Joanne ‘Katherine’ Rowling is known to be one of the world’s most accomplished writers and her success story is one recognized by many.
She takes the titles of being a writer and a philanthropist and has inspired and entertained children and adults across the globe.
J.K. Rowling is the acclaimed author of the Harry Potter book series that released its final book in 2007.
Her life was an example of one of the most amazing “Rags to Riches” experiences.
After teaching English in Spain, post the passing of her mother, Rowling got married and had one daughter named Jessica. This marriage had sadly failed, so Rowling decided to move back to the UK with her daughter. They were extremely poor and Rowling struggled with depression for quite some time.
To get her mind of things, she would ride buses and sit in cafes for entire day, with her daughter, writing the first Harry Potter book.
Post completing the book she approached the three most recognized book publishing companies: HarperCollins, Penguin and Trans World; she was rejected, a total of 12 times.
A children’s book publishing company, however, gave Rowling a chance and the book became an instant success and whilst making the book, the decision was made that Rowling’s name would be abbreviated in order to attract more male readers.
She very quickly became one the most successful and influential women in the world and was awarded Author of the Year in 2000. She has also been given the OBE (Officer of the most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by the Queen for her aids to child literacy.
She went from being gravely impoverished and built an empire that is, today, worth more than US$15 Billion.
From her successes, she has been able to start the Volant Charitable Trust which combats poverty and social inequality and has, through this, been able to support children’s homes, one parent families and multiple sclerosis research.
One of the most prevalent characteristics of Rowling, are that she perseveres and is determined in everything what she does. She followed her dream and used her talent that lead her to entrepreneurial greatness. She used labor and entrepreneurship skills to get her to where she is today and her democratic and transactional leading style are two things have made people want to work with her.
Through her charity, she has assisted many people with getting a better quality of life. She has pushed for more medical research to be done on possibly fatal diseases and conditions.
In my opinion, I think that J.K. Rowling is a wonderful example of someone who never gives up, even when the going gets tough. She went with her intuition and took a risk that has changed her life in the most amazing ways.