Notions of Class in the Harry Potter Novels | English Literature Dissertation

July 31, 2020 by Essay Writer

The world in which one lives today is one that is not different from the past in many aspects. Though there have been several changes in society, there are still several things that remain the same.

Human lifestyle undoubtedly has changed along with the way thatpeople think. However, memories and records of events and the like arenot always forgotten. People may not forget things easily, and somemake it a point to hang on to memories and even grudges. Historicevents may be recorded solely for the purpose of preserving thoughts ofthe world so that man, in time to come, would have a chance of knowinghis roots.
Through history, one important thing that has come to man’s attentionis the existence of inequalities through time. Inequalities have alwaysexisted, and these have always been a major source of conflict.

Conflict has always been known man, and has never been a strangerto man at any point in time. This is not to say that wars always ragedacross the earth, but certainly does mean that atrocities and the likealways existed. The hostilities and crime that one witnesses today ishardly different from the crimes that were committed in the past. Theonly thing that makes it much more different to what it was in the pastis that there is technology on one’s side today. Instead of this beingof greater help to man today, it has resulted in much more death anddestruction, all starting from inequalities in resources. Theoristslike Karl Marx and Stephen Greenblatt are individuals that would beable to shed greater light on the disharmony in society. Their views onsocial living also help one to understand the way that things were andare today, and how similar conflicts may be through time .

Domination could take almost any form, and this would depend on whatkind of resources one class has. If one has economic resources, it ispossible to dominate others extensively. In Marxist terms, dominationis usually because the resources a class has in hand. If a class haseconomic resources, it has greater strength and can dominate others. Ifthe resources have limited value, they cannot dominate all that much.In addition to the possession of resources that causes conflict, thereis also something known as a sense of belonging. If a person feels thatanother is not of his status or does not speak the language that s/hedoes, conflict might arise. However, “Differences of habit and languageare nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open”.

Aside from the differences in resources and the conflict that takesplace because of a difference in resources, Marxism has other values.It is a theory that explains social change, which is why it can beapplied to various situations of conflict. The reason for this is thatthere always has to be a reason for conflict, and this refers todifferences in resources of strengths .

Marxism being a macro-sociological theory is one that can also apply tosmaller setups. This means that it can apply to communities as welleven though a community is only a part of a larger society. However,thismakes sense because of the fact that it also applies to a wholestate that itself a smaller part of a global environment .

Being a theory that can be used to see significance in communities, itis one that can be applied to the magician’s community in Harry PotterNovels by J.K Rowling. The community in Harry Potter Novels is perfectfor implementing Marxist theory. This is because of the fact that thereis existence of segregation, class/group conflict, oppression, slavery,Prejudice, etc. existing in the community. It is all these factors thatexpose the importance of Marxist theory and the way that communities gothrough changes during conflict. The stages in a conflict are alsoclearly visible as one reads through the Harry Potter books. Thesestages are similar to Marxist explanations, and are also in sync withsocial changes that occur because of conflicts .

In addition to the class conflict that would occur because of controlover resources or magical powers, there is also the case of descent.Descent or heritage is an issue in Harry Potter stories as well becausethose who belong to an original group are believed to be rightful heirsand have authorized control. This is something that is explained byother theories as well, but Marxism primarily considers these to bebecause of beliefs and doctrines that are embedded in people’s minds.They are also most likely to occur because of the control that peoplebelieve they are entitled to when they are of original or pure descent. This is precisely the case wit the pure bloods that think they arerightful owners of magic. The purebloods assumed that they have therights to magic and only they should be allowed to study at the schoolof magic. They wanted the half bloods and the mudbloods ousted.However, since they could not do it through fair means they resorted toother means. At various stages of the whole story of Harry Potter’sexperience this is demonstrated. Not only is Harry Potter subject totheir unfair means but so are many innocent people. The pure bloods arewilling to go to any length to dominate and gain control over allothers. They want to gain control in the wider society by first takingover the magic school and proving themselves as rightful owners ofmagic. They are inbred and come from generations of practice. AlbusDumbledore asserts: “You place too much importance… on the so-calledpurity of blood! You fail to recognize that it matters not whatsomeone is born, but what they grow to be! ”

Undoubtedly, they may possess exceptional traits and ability to performspells, but it may also be said that they have mastered all thisthrough immense practice. As opposed to this, Harry Potter is anindividual who is of half wizard descent. He still has more abilitiesthan most other wizards of pure descent. He has the ability to applymagical spells at will even though he was warned in the initial stagesthat it could prove dangerous for him. He was told that afterperforming magic for the first time, it is “Natural to want a bitmore”. He was told that he “can’t start flying cars to try and get”himself “noticed” (Chapter 6, p. 91).
The best part about Harry Potter’s character is that he is a wizard ora young wizard with immense skill. He does not use his magicalstrengths unless he really needs to. He had been warned against usingmagical spells, but also preferred to use commonsense to work his waythrough situations. It may be asserted that Harry Potter was a clevermagician who used his magical capabilities to reinforce his efforts.
Describing magical situations in a community of wizards and using amacro-sociological theory to back it up, may seem odd. However, itappears that the discrimination between different groups or classes isbest described through this theory. The manner in which individuals inthis story behave is interesting and fits well into such a theory.

Considering Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches’, it can also be asserted thatMarxism fits into it too. This is because there are also notions ofgroups or class in this story. There is also existence of oppressors.These oppressors are the ones that cause the disharmony; they try toget rid of children, and people in general cannot detect them livingalong with them in society. They look like normal ladies and have everygeneral character that women have, and no one would even imagine thatthere are some of the wickedest women living right beside them.

Since class distinction is an important part of Marxist theory, it isworth asserting that Harry Potter has no shortage of Marxist notions.This can be observed in the fact that class distinction is quite open.The manner in which classification takes place in ‘Harry Potter and thePhilosopher’s Stone’ is exceptional. This is typically visible whenthey magicians are categorized and placed in traditional houses. Eachmagician is placed in a traditional house according to his or hercapability or status. An example of this is the manner in which Harryis placed in the house of Gryffindor. He is a hero and is placed herewhile other magicians such as Malfoy, are placed in Slytherin. Thoughit may be argued that this is highly unlike a Marxist practice becauseof the inequality, it can be said that it is actually very much in syncwith Marxist theory. This is because of the fact that Marxism holdsthat each one has particular capabilities that could be put to use.Marxism emphasizes on the notion: from each one according to hiscapability, and to each one according to his need (Marx & Engels,1848). In the above example, it is obvious that the emphasis is more onthe capability of the individual, which is why each of thecharacterized are placed in separate houses.

In this kind of segregation, there are particular advantages as well asdisadvantages. This refers to the fact that being segregated couldcause unity in some ways and further disintegration in others. In‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, both these notions arevisible clearly. Unity is demonstrated through the recognition ofmorals in each character. The characters recognize certain qualities ineach other and they are drawn closer; Harry, Ron and Hermione stand outas examples. In contrast to this, it can also be observed that thereare instances where some characters are repulsed.

It is through the unity that is created by the three friends at themagic school that a plot has been detected to steal the ‘Philosopher’sStone’. Harry, Ron and Hermione work together to discover a culprit atthe top level. It turns out that one of the teachers is a suspect. Thework that the three friends put in to discover the suspect is anexample of the way that the people in a state can work towards foilinga treacherous attempt. This part of the story also reflects the natureof the Marxist state that is more than likely to pull down a leader orany official that puts them at risk. The people are the ones with powerand they may use it collectively to achieve a goal. Though there may beother individuals against them, they may still go ahead with what theybelieve in.

The Philosopher’s Stone is like the importance of a state, and if anyone is trying to steal something that belongs to the state they need tobe stopped. The situation can be deadly, which is why it may also beadventurous. “After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but thenext great adventure” .

This is precisely what Harry and his friends set out to do after theyhave strong suspicions on particular people. However, their earliersuspicions were not accurate as Harry discovers that he has to facesomeone other than Snape. One can have “As much money and life as youcould want! The two things most human beings would choose above all -the trouble is, humans”, even if they are magicians, “do have a knackof choosing precisely those things that are worst for them” .

In order to prevent the Philosopher’s Stone from being stolen, Harryand his friends have to go after the stone themselves. This meant thatthey had to get in through the guards to make sure the Stone would notbe stolen away. At this point in the story, it is specificallymentioned that Harry and his friends had to pull their strengthstogether in order to get where they reached.

Harry and his friends manage to do this quite successfully until Harryhas to go in alone after the Stone. In doing this, he is faced withProfessor Quirrell. Being his crafty self like many politicians thatwant to benefit the most, Professor Quirrell tries to use Harry to getto the stone. He knew that Harry would be able to get through, and soknew it would be the best way. However, the professor remainsunsuccessful in his attempt. Quirrell was killed and Voldemortdefeated. This defeat and death stands for the necessity of conflict tobring peace and restoration to a state. The characters defeated standfor those that interfere with the relatively peaceful system in place.Harry and his friends stand for those that are willing to risk all thatis theirs in order to do what is right. Harry in particulardemonstrates that he is the people of a state because of the fact thathe was ready to lay down his life for everyone. He knew that he was theonly one capable of completing the task, and so went into a dangeroussituation all by himself. However, he emerged victorious and thus livedup to being a hero.

Though Harry did a splendid amount of heroic work single-handedly, itcannot be forgotten that he could not have done it all by himself.Towards the end of the adventure, this is exposed considerably throughthe points scored in all the efforts. Gryffindor earns one hundred andsixty points through the collective efforts of Harry, Ron and Hermione.However, an extra ten points were earned because of Neville’s effortsto stop the three from going to the Philosopher’s Stone.

It is obvious that trying to stop Harry and his friends from goingthrough the defenses of the guards would be seen as a good act. Quitenaturally, Harry’s actions as ring leader were not the mostappropriate; the school of magic may not have been pleased about this,and so placed a ban on him from using magic for the rest of the summer.However, he kept this ban a secret so that no one would take advantageof him. Using magic could not be kept a secret, but not using it couldbe kept a secret. Looking at the practice of magic in the literaturepublished today, there are several religious groups that are againstthe use of magic and witchcraft in Harry potter stories. This has beenthe case so much so that religious groups have moved to have the seriesbanned. However, this is an unlikely thing to happen, as the book isfiction; something that is far from reality. However, in comparing thenotions in this series with Marxist literature, it can also be saidthat there are people who scrutinize it (Marxist Literature) as well,terming it all as evil and a social disease that aims at overturningother just forms of governance. The fears are more real in this sense,but pertinent literature can hardly be banned from publication .

Marxist literature is known to focus on many different aspects ofsocietal living; it is a political theory and often serves as a meansof scrutinizing state operations. One of the main things that ittargets is injustice. It emphasizes on the need to get rid the root ofinjustice in society. In Marxist notions, there are ways of targetingand getting rid of injustice. The words mentioned earlier about Marxismcan aptly be applied here as well: ‘to each one according to his needs’(Marx & Engels, 1848). These words comprehensively overruleinjustice, but of course are not sufficient to make sure that injusticedoes not occur. Injustice still occurs in its various forms, anddiscrimination towards individuals belonging to particular origins isone of the most well known of its forms. Discrimination is alsosomething that is a major consideration in ‘Harry Potter and thechamber of secrets’.

Basically the discrimination is generalized at all magicians lower than‘pure blood wizards’. In ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’Harry is discriminated by Malfoy because Harry is not a pure bloodwizard. In contrast to this story talking about discrimination andmaking of differences between wizards, there is a great deal that onecan learn from it. Tolerance is one of the major teachings in thisstory. Individuals of all ages can learn from tolerance, no matter whattheir backgrounds are. Marxist theory also holds fast to tolerance asopposed to its notions of conflict. People living in a society may havedifferences, but they still have to live together. Provided that thedifferences are not too magnified, there is no reason why they cannotlive together. In extreme cases, they may need to clash before peace isestablished, but first tolerance is preferred. Conflict is actually thelast option; when there is no other way out, conflict is resorted to.The intensity of the conflict can be observed in the following lineswhen Arthur Weasley says: “Never trust anything that can think foritself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain” .

Tolerance in the Community:

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, tolerance in the communityis of great importance. If tolerance is non existent, there would be nocommunity. However, there are some individuals that want to causedisharmony even if their intentions seem logical. In the story, SalazarSlytherin wants to get rid of all those that are different andestablish a community that is pure; he wants to get rid of the"mudbloods," or wizards that do not have any magical ancestors. Here,one can see that is a definite distinction between the two classes, andthere is also a definite demeaning tone and term being used againstthose that were not pure magicians . Quite obviously, there was aresponse from those who were being looked down upon. They would defendthemselves if attacked or harmed in any way. This would be legitimatein the sense that all members in a society are entitled to equalrights, and these are natural rights. The targeted class might feel theneed to resist hostilities or even launch attacks. This conflict isnothing unknown to Marxism; in fact, class conflict is normal for peaceto be achieved. Particularly, it must be noted that class conflict inHarry Potter and the Chamber of secrets is also similar to Marxistdescription because of the class conflict existing between two classes.Typically, this was the Quidditch game between Gryffindor andSlytherin. The Gryffindor and Slytherin represent the two classes inconflict.

According to Marxism there are no other classes; there is just aconflict between to very distinctive classes in society because of thedifferences in resources . Here, one can observe that the classconflict or group conflict in Harry Potter exists between those thathave more magical power and those that do not. Also, those that havemore power are ones that claim to have purer heritage. They believethat they can purify their community by getting rid of those withoutsuch heritage.

Purifying the community is something that is out of Marxist views; itis something that does not pertain to the theory. Though there havebeen instances in the past that may be used as examples of purifyingcommunities and races, none can be blamed on Marxism. Purification ofraces and communities is something that has been the result ofDarwinian thought. However, since these notions were integrated withso-called socialist strategies, Marxism is largely blamed for heinousevents in history .

In Harry Potter, the purification that Salazar Slytherin intendsactually goes to show that these ideas are opposed to peace. Peace canonly attained by getting rid of such prejudices. The only way to get ofthese prejudices is to change the way that the dominating class thinksand acts or to have a direct and open conflict to demolish it.

Coming back to the manner in which Harry and Hermione are both demeanedbecause of their heritage, Harry’s is only half of what the pure bloodswere. Both Hermione’s parents were not magicians as well. This meansthat both friends were not pure magicians by blood. However, they werepretty good at whatever they did; there magic was far better and moreeffective than Malfoy’s who was a pure blood. Here again there can be aMarxist comparison. This is because of the fact that Harry’s andHermione’s characters demonstrate the fact that all individuals nomatter what their heritage have the ability to perform in any art; allindividuals are able to do just as well as any other individuals.

Marxism holds that all people in a community have the ability towork and be as productive as any other individual. Though there areindividuals with specialized skills who can be more productive in termsof quality, other individuals should not be demeaned or underestimated. However, this is what Malfoy does; he and his lot aredescribed as oversized, strange-looking, mean and unintelligent, butthey are still pure bloods coming from generations of pure blood. Theyhave not much in their favor, and so, it is very important for them tobe pure. They have worked for generations to be ‘purebloods’ at thecost of losing everything else. This is perhaps the reason why they areso hung up on remaining in control and excluding all those that aredifferent to them. Perhaps they could not stand anyone having magical[powers and not being pure bloods. However, the problem for them wasthat Harry and Hermione were really good at their magic even thoughthey were not pure bloods .

Observing the manner in which the ‘pure blood wizards’ treated the‘mudbloods’, one can say that there already are already two classes inconflict. However, the mudbloods are those that are targeted, andwithin a broad category of those that dominate them are the pure bloodwizards along with others. These others include people such as theDursleys, who virtually fear magic. They are the ones that try to avoidmagic and had kept Harry away from these practices that were rightfullyhis own. The Dursleys serve as a group of people in the category ofthose that oppress the ‘mudbloods’ even though they are not exactly onthe same side of the ‘pure blood wizards’. However, the fact is that,anyone or group that opposes or oppresses the mudbloods areautomatically considered to be in one broad category. This is similarto the manner in which all those who oppose or oppress the proletarianare considered to be one group or class.

As opposed to the class conflict that is clearly visible in Harry{Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Marxist theory has it that for acommunity to survive there is need for tolerance to be practiced. Iftolerance is not a strength in a community, at any point in future, acommunity is liable to fall apart or become a victim of disharmony.
A community should be strong enough in its bonds in order to preventdisharmony. It should tolerance and other qualities at its center sothat its community members can rely on it. Speaking of a community as awhole, in Harry Potter could not have been a hero on his own. He neededother individuals to support his role and cause too. Without them, hecould not be successful and would never have been recognized as a hero.

Harry also has individual traits as well that are required of a hero.He is one that depends on the moment for taking decisions thatultimately define his success. Harry uses each moment intelligently andapplies common sense knowledge to situations. He does not think withhis magical powers. He instead, uses his magical abilities to reinforcehis decisions. He does not think with magic or with power. This isreflected in Marxist theory as well, as individuals and governingbodies or a state or even a community need to think logically and notwith the power they have in their hands. Social living is given a lotof importance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which is whyHarry maybe used as an important example. He is a community member. Heis one that is oppressed by those that are in a position to oppresshim, but he does not give in. He knows better because he can think anddoes not abuse his magical power. This is something important and infact is close to utopia in Marxism. Being honest and having the abilityto control one’s power and authority is a quality that many do nothave .

Just like the legal system in Marxism is taken into considerationso is it done in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’. The systemof governance in place is most important to consider. This is becauseof the fact that it is the foundation of actions to be carried out whendealing with millions of people in a country. If there is injustice inthe legal system, it needs to be dealt with accordingly. An example ofinjustice in the legal system is reflected I the way that Lucius andMalfoy deal with those that make mistakes. Their decisions are severeand harsh, and in most cases are unnecessary.

Lucius and Malfoy represent the harsh hand of the law. In many casesrecorded in history there have been legal systems that have practicedharsh treatment of their people and little was done. However, Marxistideals do not agree with this even though rulers may have misusedtenets of Marxism. Injustice of the kind that Lucius and Malfoy carriedout cannot be tolerated.

The Social set up is such that it allows all individuals to provethemselves. They may do sop as individuals or as a group. The Quidditchis believed to be a social indicator that can reveal the wayindividuals are. This is possible because it allows a competitionbetween two sides, Gryffindor and Slytherin. The integrity of the twosides is measured in terms of the strategies they use. Each of themwants to emerge as the winner and earn recognition through theirpowers. However, the serious conflict is that the Slytherin use unfairmeans to prove themselves even though they are pure bloods. TheGryffindor on the other hand are not necessarily pure in terms ofmagical power heritage; they are however, effective, and are evenbelieved to be more powerful than their opponents.

The Quidditch also serves as an environment of its own kind becauseof the fact that it has the ability to observe individuals as thoughthey are in another environment altogether. Through the Quidditch a lotcan be revealed about an individual’s real life intentions; it can beused to predict the lengths to which that individuals may go in orderto win or prove themselves. On the parts of both competitors,Gryffindor and Slytherin, it can be observed that they have tried hardto prove themselves the best way they know how. In this process, agreat deal has been revealed about the Marxist notions involved in theoverall set up.

Something that reinforces Marxist notions, especially with theoppressed magicians, is the fact that they are concerned about thosethat are enslaved. They understand the plight of those enslaved andknow that their condition is perhaps worse than their own. Beingoppressed is one thing because at least the oppressed like Harry andHermione have the power to fight back. With the elves, there is hardlya chance of fighting back, as they have nothing to fight with and haveno special magical powers. It is this concern for the enslaved that istypical of individuals among the proletarian. This is an attitude thathas the power to bring people together and oppose oppression by thedominant ones.

The slaves in Harry Potter are individuals that are kept for freelabor for the wicked wizarding families. The way that these elves aretreated depends on the mercy the wizards have for them, and since theyhave enslaved them it is obvious what kind of mercy they have shown them.

Hermione has learned much from this enslavement and knows that this isnot far from the way that other good and bad wizards have experiencedat the hands of Lord Voldemort. Hermione then works throughout the bookto liberate the oppressed individuals. Some of those enslaved were madeso by physically restricting them to particular areas or by placingthem under a curse or spell. In view of the way that they wereenslaved, Marxist views would reveal that individuals in society canalso be enslaved in similar ways. The physical way of course ispossible through keeping a person in captivity or even abusingpolitical power to torment individuals. The alternative means ofenslaving a person through a curse could refer to the way that anindividual may be placed under bonds, contracts and the like. Peopleoften take advantage of individuals who fail to fulfill agreementsunder bonds and contracts, and they may subject them to blackmail orcompel them to serve their demands. Just like the wizards may not havebeen able to do much under the Imperius curse, individuals cannot domuch after being placed under a bond.

People with the power to enslave others and control them in this waygradually can take control of a lot of people. Politicians have thepower to do this when they are ion power and create particular decreesthat compel the people in a country to act accordingly. Getting peopleto act according to the demands of a ruler is also enslavement. Thesame thing is in effect in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Thewords mentioned in this book that say exactly what one should knowabout a man’s behavior towards others are as follows: “If you want toknow what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats hisinferiors, not his equals” . These are precise words and ones that saya lot about class difference and individual attitude in view of aperson’s social position. However, the intention that Voldemort had wasto get all the slaves together and then get rid of them so that therewould be almost a nation of pure bloods. This sounds very familiar;history rings a bell here, and one is compelled to consider the SecondWorld War in which the Germans had attempted and succeeded at doingthis to some extent. However, this is something is opposed to Marxisttheory because of the fact that Marxism does not hold with purifying acommunity through enslavement and other similar practices.

Though it has been blamed for what happened in the Second World War,Marxism promotes diversity. Again here one of its tenets may beconsidered as it was earlier: to each one according to his need, andfrom each one according to his capability . These words automaticallyclear Marxism, promoting the appreciation of diversity in society.Establishing a pure race is no where within the tenets of Marxismbecause it is a theory that primarily focuses on the value of humanlife and effort . This human life and effort cannot be compared orcompensated for economically; it cannot be sold as a commodity, andshould not be sold as such.

Instead, the value of human life and effortis so high that it should be cared for in such a way that the stateappreciates it through its entire existence. This is particularly thereason why this theory does not believe in the accumulation of personalassets; it is more focused on state-provided care in order to maintainpower that is distributed among the people. When power rests with thestate, no individual a group can rise up easily and take control ofothers with shortage of resources or power. In Harry Potter and theGoblet of Fire, this is what causes the problem in the magician’scommunity; a handful of magicians manage to take control of othersthrough their crafty ways and gain more and more control. “There was nopoint in worrying yet…. what would come, would come… and he wouldhave to meet it when it did” . It is through brave and selfless effortsthat Harry manages to overturn these efforts. Harry is not justinterested in saving the community nor is he totally against wrongdoings, but he is keen on opposing domination. He becomes a herobecause he has one aim and that is to protect what was important toeveryone primarily. He wanted to protect the Philosopher’s Stone andalso confront the evil magicians. However, it is these efforts thatbuild up a community connectedness. In his efforts he had to seek helpfrom those he could. Without his friends by his side, Harry might nothave been able to get to the Philosopher’s Stone.

In the Triwizard Tournament as well, Harry is not alone. Hagrid andMoody had helped him in getting him past the dragon. Also, Cedric andDobby had helped him further when they helped him decrypt the goldenegg; this enabled Harry to rescue the underwater victims.

While trying to figure out what Harry may have done single-handedly,there is apparently little to go on. This even includes Harry gettingthrough the maze; he would not have been able to get through had it notbeen for the protective charms created by his wand’s connection withVoldemort’s wand. Trouble for Voldemort was inevitable. “It’s a strangething, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything toslow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up” .

Harry was also under the protection of his parents’ sacrifice. Harryalways thought about his parents; he also thought “about his father” .He also thought about his father’s three oldest friends: Moony,Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs” (Chapter 21, p. 407)

His parents’ sacrifice was the thing that kept him alive. Therefore,whenever he is apparently cornered, he has a way out. Harry only needsto apply himself; his basic groundwork and skill help him out, andreinforcing his skill is the protection he is under. This does not meanthat Harry is not brave because he is certainly courageous. His courageis observed when he goes before the wicked magicians alone. However,Harry is aware of the help that he gets, and makes it known too becausehe openly encourages Hagrid to start teaching again. He also tellsCedric about the dragon. This means that Harry is aware of eachperson’s role and values a connected effort. Informing those who helpedhim about what they should and can do exposes Harry’s value for theirefforts and time. He knows the value of time and understands the valueof acing all situations in the contest.

Time is of immense importance because kit helps Harry become a bettermagician. The experience he gains here at the contest will help him inhis future as a complete wizard. For Harry, patience is a must, andwhatever he does he needs to be patient; whether one observes his lifewith the Dursley’s or his period in the magical contest, Harry has tomature slowly. This helps him to become a better thinker who does notalways need to depend on magic.

In spite of him knowing that he needs to be patient. Harry is facedwith little choice. He was told not to use his magical powers becauseit may not have been safe for him to do so. However, he had to do sobecause he had to defend himself. Fortunately, it all went his way fromthe beginning right till the fifth story of Harry in Harry Potter andthe Order of the Phoenix.

Had the other students at Howgarts not been stubborn to study defensespells, they might not have been able to save themselves in the end.These students were aware of the corrupt Ministry of magic trying totake over the magic school; they knew that this ministry was notallowing the students to learn defense against their dark spells.However, studying defensive spells secretly allows the young magiciansto escape. They developed a secret study group just for the sake oflearning how to defend themselves and overturn any dark spell that theMinistry could put on them. Luna Lovegood asserts the inevitability ofconflict when she says “No, I think I’ll just go down and have somepudding and wait for it all to turn up…. It always does in the end”. Perhaps, they knew what was about to happen.

The secrecy involved with learning how to overturn evil and cripplingspells is reminiscent of the way that people from the oppressed classwould go about formulating a plan to bring down oppressors. This is howa revolution is brought about. Undoubtedly, death and destruction isinvolved in the process, but after the clash, there is peace. In HarryPotter and the Order of the Phoenix this is what the students did whenthey secretly studied defensive spells together. They managed to stat arevolt; they were in a significant number to overthrow the oppressors,and managed to do so successfully. The best part about this plan isthat the oppressors knew little about it. The secrecy involved in theirpractice was in fact a weapon on its own. This helped the students takethe oppressors by surprise, as it should be in a revolt. They weresurprised because of the fact that their spells were not successfulwhen they were really relying on them to take control and maximizetheir hold on the students.

The manner in which the students secretly studied the defense spellsspeaks for the power of knowledge; it is knowledge of the defensespells that helped them survive. It gave them power to survive. InHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix it becomes apparent toeveryone that education is in jeopardy because of the Dark Ministry atwork. Everyone knows that there is something bad going on, but there islittle that they could do. It is only thanks to a few individuals whohad good ideas that a plan was devised. The plan was devised andimplemented accordingly. Even though there were few working their waythrough, it made a whole lot of difference in the end. The value tolearn here is that even a few individuals with common sense and skillcan make a difference for a large number of people. This is because ifthey can manage their plans well and implement them without beinginterfered with there is a lot that can be achieved. The key is to keepit all a secret and not let anyone know anything about the plan. Bydoing this, there are greater chances of success because when no oneknows about a revolt, especially the enemy, there can be no actionagainst. The opposition would not know how to deal with it. They wouldnot even have time to deal with it when it does occur, and so, thismakes the chances of a successful revolt even greater.

In addition to the Marxist secrecy observed in action against the DarkMinistry, there are particular rules that are given at the beginning.The Sorting Hat warns the students about standing together. It is theirunity that would prevent them from being defeated. The problem is thatthe housing system at the Hogwart’s was the reason why they wereseparated into two groups . Fortunately though, Ron, Hermione, Ginny,and Neville are all in the same house as Harry. This makes it easierfro them to stick together. However, there is still a lot that theyhave to overcome because of the existing segregation that exists amongmany of the students. Inside the school at which they were studyingmagic as well as outside there was a lot of segregation and hostilityas well. The pure bloods wanted to have control, and they wanted totake control of the magic school so that only they would be educated inmagic. This would reinforce their control in the wider society as well.Obviously, they were not satisfied with the success that half bloodsand mudbloods had with doing magic.

In addition to stories like Harry Potter portraying the manner in whichone class oppresses another in the way that the pure bloods oppressedthe half bloods, the mudbloods and the elves, there are other meansthrough which evil-doers accomplish their goals. There are evil-doersthat come under disguise too. They may appear to be average lookingpeople that the ordinary person may not be able to suspect, which isthe reason why they are most dangerous. Nobody knows who they are; theyare trusted all the way through their secret evil deeds, and often goon being undetected for years. Literature that reveals such is in thebook by Roald Dahl, called ‘The Witches’. In this book, the differencebetween the fairy-tale idea of witches and real idea of witches isrevealed.

‘The witches’ by Roald Dahl is an interesting book that reveals the waythat people conceal their real personalities but still manage to getwhat they want. The book tells one about a seven-year-old boy who comesface to face with real-life witches. These witches are like no othersthat one reads about in a fairy-tale. The book reveals that witches arequite different to those funny or evil looking women dressed upunusually. No, witches are not those that have long ugly hair, wearpointed, tall hats, wear pointed shoes, have a black cat or fly aroundon a broom. Witches are those women living among us that seem to belike any other women: they all dress up the same way and look the sametoo. This makes it so difficult to trace them out. They have ordinarylifestyles and may have ordinary jobs too. The only thing about witchesis that they do not like children.

They may, on the surface, pretend tolike children around them, but they actually hate them. They can bevery deceptive too, which is what makes them dangerous. Children may beable to detect it when a person does not like them for some reason.They may not even want to go anywhere near such women. However, someparents find that their children are being shy or just plain rude towomen when they do that. People do not actually read what a childsenses, and these feelings of a child are hardly ever wrong. This isbecause children do not react in such ways for no reason at all; therehas to be a reason for their fear or dislike of some women.

Quite obviously, children would fear evil women because they know thereis really something to fear about them. According to Dahl, evil women(witches) are capable of going through great lengths in order to doaway with children. They are liable to perform any amount of evilspells to get rid of them for good. Children who know this, would dotheir level best to escape. However, Roald Dahl tells one about a childwanting to expose the existence of a witch before the witch disposes ofthe child.

There are different angles from which one may look at Roald Dahl’s workin the ‘The Witches’. This is because as far as evil-doing isconcerned, it can be said that a state needs to be aware and informedabout evil-doers and those individuals that attempt to bring down astate. Especially those individuals that may be a part of a much largerorganization or class need to be taken into consideration. In view ofthis, it must be said that the witches in disguise are the ones to bewatched out for; there needs to be a great deal of awareness regardingthis issue.

Looking at this book from another angle will reveal that there is needto be careful regarding concrete evidence against individuals. Anyindividual might be accused of evil-doing and be targeted. This wouldbe a dreadful situation if the public is stirred up for no rhyme orreason against any individual or group. However, in the light of proofbeing present to pin an individual down for perpetration, action may betaken. When a state is informed of any misdeeds or unusual action,there is first of all need for thorough investigation. It is throughthis investigative process that it can be determined what has to bedone in the next stage.
If there is sufficient proof against an individual for wrong-doings,s/he may be taken into custody straight away. Individuals who havecommitted crimes in the past have particular patterns that arefollowed. It is on the basis of these patterns that they may be reasonto suspect them of evil-doing.

When it comes to detecting witches in Roald Dahl and arousing suspicionabout them, one can say that those are first and foremost in dangerneed to be considered first. They are the ones that are capable ofhaving as much information as possible about witches and should betaken as seriously as possible. The spreading of knowledge aboutwitches is important because the more people know about it the better.This is not mere propaganda, but is awareness among people in a state .

Another important point to note in ‘The Witches’ is there is existenceof groups that may be measured by Marxist theory . Witches can beconsidered as one class or group as opposed to children. The childrencan be described as the targeted group while the witches can bedescribed as the oppressors. Since the children are the ones that aremost likely to be targeted, they need to watch out for adults,particularly women. The oppressor class does not necessarily consist ofa great many evil women, but there is need to be ware of who might beevil among the women.

Conflicts may be generally the same through time because of the factthat the source of these conflicts lies in inequalities regardingresources. This is typically a Marxist view because Marxism holds thatthe basic reason for conflict and disharmony is inequality ofresources. When one class possesses more resources than the other,there is bound to be some form of conflict. This is because one classtries to dominate the other. Also, the class that does not have all theresources may be displeased and conflict with the class that has allthe resources. It is a well known trend that the class with all theresources dominates the class with fewer resources.

Those with the power to dominate will do so, and this power to dominatecomes through the possession of resources. This is something that hasbeen observed in all parts of the Harry Potter books, as well as ‘TheWitches’ by Roald Dahl. Those with the ability to be harsh or takecontrol will ultimately do so unless they are stooped. In Harry Potter,the readers observe that the oppressed magicians (the half bloods andthe mudbloods) finally manage to overcome oppression by the purebloods. In ‘The Witches’ too, the 7-year-old boy manages to expose thewitches that were out to dispose of him.

  • Adorno, Theodor. 1968. "Is Marx Obsolete?" Diogenes 64 1-16
  • Adorno, Theodor. 1978. "Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda", The Culture Industry 114-35;
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  • Greenblatt, Stephen. 1978, "Marlow, Marx, and Anti-Semitism." Critical Inquiry 5(2): 291-307.
  • Kolakowski, Leszek. 1978. "The Frankfurt School and ‘Critical Theory’"341-95 in his Main Currents of Marxism, vol 3, trans. P.S. Falla.London: Oxford University Press.
  • Lukàcs, G. 1971. History and Class Consciousness
  • Marx, Karl & Engels, Frederick. The Communist Manifesto, 1848.
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  • Rowling, J.K. "Dobby’s Reward," Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1999.
  • Rowling, J.K. "The Beginning," Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000.
  • Rowling, J.K. "The Second War Begins," Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2003.
  • Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 2000.
  • Rowling, J.K. The Man with Two Faces, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 1997.
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