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

Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling (1997)
Blog posts due and presentation day: Thursday, December 6

  • Group 6:

Write a post here of two paragraphs (about 200 words) discussing the novel; or make your post a reply to someone else’s post. 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. 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, such as when he tries to find the stone, Harry disobeys the rules in ways which should get him in serious trouble but is praised. 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?

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