Daily Archives: December 5, 2017

British Soc & Lit 2 – Blog Post 4 (Harry Potter)

Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling (1997)

Presentations: Thursday, December 7; Blog posts due: Monday, December 11

  • Group 7 (extra): Is Hogwarts actually a safe place for children? If not, why?

Write a post here of two paragraphs (about 200 words) discussing the novel; or make your post a reply to someone else’s post.

Your presentation must present an opinion or argument; it cannot just summarize the story. You must e-mail or speak to me before your presentation to have it approved.

  1. Does Dumbledore act as a sort of ‘father’ to Harry, or does Hagrid or another person fit this role better? How and why?
  2. Are there funny scenes in the novel, or things satirized from the real world, such as campus sports (Quidditch) or junk food? How does Rowling create humor in the story?
  3. Some religious or parents groups complain that children should not read such stories about witchcraft and magic. Are novels such as this good for children? What lessons do they learn from this book?
  4. Discuss the ‘antique’ technology in the novel. For example, why is everything done with owls and candles and such? Why can’t Hogwarts have Wi-Fi and laptops and have the students arrive by flying KTX trains? Why is there some technology?
  5. Snape always seems misjudged in the novel. Is he a sympathetic character? Is there a reason why he always appears evil and is vindicated at the end of the story?
  6. Hermione is a perfectionist and always seems stressed, but she breaks down and cries at one point. Analyze her character, or discuss another female. Is there a reason why the story is so male-centered, when it’s written by a woman?
  7. Research residential boarding schools in England. Is Hogwarts like these schools? Do you see any reason why the story is set in such a school?
  8. Much of the novel is very sad, dealing with Harry’s feelings of loss over his parents, or the cruelty of the Dursleys. For many other characters family is very important. Does this also have a reason or purpose in the novel?
  9. Authority works strangely in the novel; for some minor actions the students receive harsh punishments, but at times Harry disobeys the rules in ways which should get him in serious trouble, and he is praised– such as when he tries to find the stone. Why?
  10. Take a scene in the novel and analyze it closely. How does Rowling present the events and dialogue? What sort of techniques or meanings does she choose?

British Soc & Mod Novs: Blog Post 4 (Lucky Jim)

Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis (1954)

Blog posts due and presentation day: Monday, December 11

  • Group 7: Who are the worst people in the novel, and why?
  • Group 8: How does luck function in the novel?

Write a post here of two paragraphs (about 200 words) discussing Lucky Jim. Feel free to make your post a reply to someone else’s post if you like.

Choose one topic for your presentation or for online discussion or your paper. One topic per group. A narrow, focused discussion is usually more interesting.

  1. Do you like Dixon, or sympathize with him? Would you want him as a friend?
  2. Discuss Margaret or Christine. How do they influence or change Dixon?
  3. Welch seems strangely forgiving of Dixon’s actions. Is Welch a bad or good man, or is he just a little stupid?
  4. Discuss morality in the novel. Who are the worst people in the story?
  5. Amis has been accused of hating women– are his portrayals of women in the novel fair?
  6. What do you think is the funniest scene in the novel? Describe and discuss how Amis makes the scene funny.
  7. Do you think the novel satirizes universities or English society? How or why?
  8. Why is Jim Dixon lucky? (Or is he?)
  9. Does Dixon grow up throughout the novel, or change? How and why?
  10. Some critics believe the ending is contrived or unrealistic, that Dixon doesn’t deserve to be “saved” by Gore-Urquhart. Do you agree?