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?

9 thoughts on “British Soc & Lit 2 – Blog Post 4 (Harry Potter)

  1. Kim Ji Yeon

    1. Does Dumbledore act as a sort of ‘father’ to Harry, or does Hagrid or another person fit this role better? How and why?

    I think Dumbledore acted as a sort of father to Harry. There are 3 reasons for that. Dumbledore did duty of protection to Harry like a father. First case is that when baby Harry was alive, Dumbledore let Hagrid carry Harry and let Harry go family house even though it was not good family. Carrying him to the house was explained that he protected him from dangerous. If he didn’t do that, Harry would become a orphan beacuse he was a baby and there was no protecter to him.
    Second case is that when Harry was in dangerous to death in basement to get the sorcerer’s stone, Dumbledore saved him and said everything to Harry. No one saved Harry except Dumbledore and only he came for Harry. I think it is enough explanation that he played a role as a father for Harry because he saved Harry’s life!
    Lastly, he gave Harry a invisible cloak. Originally, Harry’s father had to give him it. But there was no Harry’s father, so Dumbledore gave it to him. I think Dumbledore did it as a father instead of Harry father’s role.

  2. JongHoon Park

    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?

    I think Harry’s loss over his parents greatly affect his relationship with surrounding people whom he can depend on. In other words, Hagrid and his friends, Ron and Hermione are more like family, rather than the Dursleys. First of all, Hagrid cares about Harry so much that he feels really sad when he had to leave the baby, Harry, in front of Dursley’s house. In addition, he gave Harry a present, an owl, which is useful for Harry’s school life, and always was kind to him. In contrast to Dursleys’ treating Harry poorly, Hagrid’s warm-hearted characteristics encourages Harry to be righteous throughout the story.

    The other people are Ron and Hermione, who became the best friends of Harry later. Ron has been a reliable and truthful friend for Harry. He was even willing to play the dangerous chess game, keeping his seat as a strong member of Harry’s side. Hermione, who had been originally just selfish and boastful, learned about the meaning of friendship from Ron and Harry when she ran into danger by the troll. Afterward, she helps out Harry to solve the problem related to Sorcerer’s Stone as a faithful friend of him. In conclusion, Harry feels much more comfortable in Hogwart due to the presence of Hagrid and his best friends.

  3. Minji Kim

    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?

    I think Rowling made fun of human society with using magician world. First is sports. Even in the world’s biggest sport festival like Olympic, some of national athletes use drug to win games. Fairness is what is the most important thing in the play but some are violating these rules. Rowling is being sarcastic about them with using Quidditch. In the Quidditch, there is no rule regarding the possession of brooms. One who has a good equipment has more chance of winning the game. I think this tells us about athletics’ cheating.
    Second is junk food. In Harry Potter, some of the junk foods are actually ‘junk’. They have jelly which tastes like garbage. A lot of junk foods in Harry Potter look like a toy rather than a food. I think she made this kind of junk food to make fun of junk food in real society because junk foods in real world are quite bad for your health.
    Also, not having an ethnical class in Hogwarts seems like a satire too. Because even though we say we value ethnic high in our world, not many people and even politics who are representing us don’t act very conscientiously.
    I think some of the points in Harry Potter which we think funny and absurd are actually happening in our world and this novel made me to think about our world better.

  4. Hyo Jin Kim

    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?

    The antique technology is mostly described in this story. There is rarely the developed technology in the story. Especially, the magical factor is combined with it. The reasons are divided in two sides. First, the antique technology highlights the magical power. The Hogwart is a magician school that is different with common schools. Therefore, the magical factor should be highlighted in Hogwart. If the developed technology is described in Hogwart, the magical factor will not be highlighted in Hogwart. Because the developed technology makes the magical power weakened.
    Second, the antique technology makes fantasy for readers. In the story, there are the antique technologies such as owl, candle and stairs. The owl is the role of telephone. Their owl is more special than common owl. They can deliver the letter or package. The Author gives them a special factor that is unreality. Therefore, the readers can regard them as fantasy factor like magical factors that is made of magic. These factors make the story be fantasy story that reveals magic factor. For these reasons, Rowling describes the antique factor in this story.

  5. Sujung Ki

    1. Does Dumbledore act as a sort of ‘father’ to Harry, or does Hagrid or another person fit this role better? How and why?

    Although both Dumbledore and Hagrid take care of Harry much, I think Hagrid rather than Dumbledore acts as father to Harry. Hagrid sticks to problems related to Harry whatever it is and cares trivial things about Harry. We can find this from a few scenes. At the beginning of the novel, he made a cake for Harry’s 12th birthday, and as it was first time for Harry to get a birthday cake, it may have significant meaning for Harry. In addition, he bought him an owl as a birthday gift, and invites him to his place hear from Harry about his first week at Hogwarts. This made Harry excited as it was his first time to get a letter by Hedwig. All these things that Hagrid did for Harry are what usually fathers do for his children. And I think thanks to him, Harry could adapt himself to Hogwarts well.
    On the other hand, Dumbledore acts as a kind of mentor to Harry. He only appears when Harry is in trouble. While Harry shares daily events often with Hagrid and establish a close rapport with him, Dumbledore just gives advices him what to do. Harry couldn’t meet Dumbledore whenever he needs him. Therefore, Hagrid more fits to Harry’s father than Dumbledore.

  6. Chang Innae

    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?

    In this novel, we can see that the students’ families causes a big effect onto students’ personalities. For Harry, losing his parents at a very young age and living with the Dursleys made him a more thoughtful, modest, and careful person. He catches others weaknesses and tries to comfort them. Also, he is one of the wizards who are not afraid of Voldemort, because he had lived away from the wizarding world and wasn’t swayed with others talking about how fearsome Voldemort was.
    Now let’s take a look at Harry’s frineds. Ron is the 6th son of the Weasley family. He has grown up with the ‘cool’ brothers and he had nothing in particular to stand out with, so he is kind of intimidated all the time and had the desire to stand out all by himself. His circumstances of a poor family also influenced this part. Hermione is a witch with a brilliant mind but has muggle parents. This was her complex all throughout the novel, so we can understand why she tried to stand out more than other witches or wizards, because she wanted to hide that kind of handicap she got.

  7. Jihyun Lee

    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?

    When I was young, I read Harry Potter behind my mother’s back. Because she heard a sermon on Harry Potter’s bad influence on children at the church and she doesn’t want me and my sisters to be affected by those books. My sisters and I read that book, and even watched the movie, but we were good girls and nothing bad has occurred at all. The pastor argued that witchcraft and magic are fake and christian must not believe those things.

    But I think witchcraft and magic is just one of the culture and there are lessons too. We can learn true friendship and wisdom to overcome a crisis from Harry and his friends. And this novel is about the good triumphing over the evil. We can learn courage to stand against the evil forces also. Sometimes children can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality, but I can’t say that fantasy is always bad and these novels are not good for children. Parents and pastors should teach power to distinguish between fake and real to children instead of preventing children from reading such stories about witchcraft and magic.

  8. Choi Jinyeong

    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?

    I think it is okay to let children read such stories, and it will rather help them prompt their imaginary world as long as they know the stories are fictions. When I read those fantasy stories, I noticed that these aren’t real things. I wish I were a wizard like Harry and I could experience those adventures. However the stories made me feel happier and made my imagination become larger even if I know there couldn’t come true. I can understand that particular religious families don’t like witchcraft, and they have their right for parenting their children no letting them read these stories. They seem to consider these as the devil’s creatures.
    I guess these kinds of books are not containing any primary lesson except for some such as things making readers think of friendship. At the scene Harry and Ron fight against the troll to save Hermione, it reminds me of what is true friendship helping each other when they are in danger. Anyway I believe these are basically written for fun to make children feel free from school or any stressful things. If the writer really wants to convey any lesson, the story wouldn’t be so fabricated and may include more realistic elements.

  9. Na, JongIn

    Does Dumbledore act as a sort of ‘father’ to Harry, or does Hagrid or another person fit this role better? How and why?

    I think Dumbledore act as a father to Harry even though he is sometimes too ‘awkward’. Generally, ‘father’ is a person who gives everything to his children, but ‘father’ also has to give ‘standard’, which is right or wrong, to his children, he has a duty. I think Dumbledore does father`s role well.
    When Harry is found at the Erised mirror, Dumbledore doesn`t yell at him even if Harry is not allowed to come that room. Dumbledore encourages him, and tells him about what the mirror means. However, Dumbledore also makes Harry has difficult time. He incidentally gives difficult events to solve, and makes Harry to solve it. Those events are not easy to solve, and it needs complicated magic, and friends` help. It may not Dumbledore`s incident, but Dumbledore`s ‘claim’, whatever it is, Dumbledore thinks It makes Harry more powerful, and grow up as an adult. From those things, encouragement and strict standard, Dumbledore does good job as a father to Harry because He doesn`t give just good thing but hard things also, and that is what father should do.

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