Prejudice In Harry Potter

( 2 )

Overview

Crisp, insightful, engaging, and thoroughly researched, "Prejudice in Harry Potter's World" turns the tables on literary critique. Brown shows uncommon, in-depth knowledge of the Harry Potter canon. And she delves straight into her analysis of social themes in J.K. Rowling's work without pulling any punches. First, the book provides a detailed outline of the social hierarchy in the so-called "wizarding world." Then, the author offers perceptive and highly relevant commentaries. Each chapter focuses on how a ...
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Overview

Crisp, insightful, engaging, and thoroughly researched, "Prejudice in Harry Potter's World" turns the tables on literary critique. Brown shows uncommon, in-depth knowledge of the Harry Potter canon. And she delves straight into her analysis of social themes in J.K. Rowling's work without pulling any punches. First, the book provides a detailed outline of the social hierarchy in the so-called "wizarding world." Then, the author offers perceptive and highly relevant commentaries. Each chapter focuses on how a select group contributes to wizarding society and helps to maintain the social order.whether by embracing their own oppression or by oppressing others.

What are some of the consequences of institutional discrimination in Harry Potter's world and how do they compare with social trends in the real world? This book provides all the answers.

Not authorized by J.K. Rowling.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602641532
  • Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com
  • Publication date: 3/5/2008
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2008

    A courageous attempt...Ms. Rowling, your secret is out.

    Harry Potter isn't just about the three White leads: Harry, Hermione and Ron. No, really. It's not about them at all. It's about the disenfranchized, the lonely, the bullied and the oppressed. It's about the Disabled. It's about people who find themselves 'in the margins of society,' says Karen Brown. Harry Potter is really about you and me. Just don't tell that to the majority of those who were lining up to buy the books at 1AM outside the nearest Barnes and Noble. Don't tell that to the 'Anglo-Saxon'-looking kids who thought Harry Potter resembled them. How could something so popular and so mainstream be about marginalized people? This book explains it all. Erudite as Ms Brown obviously is, she writes in a way that the average Joe will 'get it.' Pure genius. And what courage it must have took to write such a book! I can't praise this work enough.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2008

    Convincing and Entertaining

    For such seemingly innocuous children¿s books, the fame of Rowling¿s Harry Potter series has made her novels as much an object of praise as vitriol, by their effect on children, as well as their cultural significance. Yet beyond questions of literary merit lies a larger question of why and how they could have captured the hearts and minds of so many different people around the globe. Karen Brown in her study Prejudice in Harry Potter¿s World: A Social Critique of the Series, is right to rescue the Harry Potter books as a valuable object of criticism from those who would denigrate the cultural and social significance of mere `children¿s books¿ and Harry Potter in particular. By analysing the narrative of the seven books (and by implication the films, which have taken great pains to adhere to the content of the novels), her study assesses the implicit representation of discrimination towards minorities in one of the most widely disseminated narratives in recent times. The popularity and apparent ubiquity of the Harry Potter narrative is certainly amazing. I read somewhere that the Potter books would be read as the defining literature of Blair¿s New Labour, and the social changes in British society of his term (which the publication of the books, 1997 to 2007, precisely match). Yet this study is suitably careful about exactly how close Rowling draws the parallels between contemporary social issues and the events in the novels, understanding them as `comparable¿ rather than explicit representations, and limiting itself to identifying the real forms of social injustice (sexism, racism, homophobia, disability prejudice, ageism, religious bias, etc) within their metaphorical articulation. Indeed the fact that the Potter books are understood in many different literary markets, suggests that Rowling¿s portrayal of discrimination and persecution has universal resonance despite the apparent specificity of its narrative (London-centric, English boarding school genre, Celtic-pagan mythology). Lord Voldemort and his followers constitute a malevolent force in society, prejudicial by nature and genocidal in intent. Yet Ms Brown reveals Rowling¿s nuanced understanding of the extent of prejudice in society by charting the `hate-prejudice¿ within ostensibly noble characters, for example Ron¿s vestigial discrimination against giants which he gradually overcomes or misperceptions of Harry by other characters due to his fame and ability to speak parseltongue. Furthermore, she effectively uncovers the ironies of Rowling¿s wizarding society by contrasting the socially-acceptable servitude of the house-elves (whom Hermione attempts to free) and the unacceptable servitude, demotion or extermination of the Mudbloods (mixtures of wizards and muggles) and Squibs (of wizard stock without magical ability), which is desired by the followers of Voldemort. Prejudice can be institutionally inscribed, in particular through political institutions like the corrupt and placatory Ministry of Magic, which hampers the efforts of various insider figures (such as Dumbledore) to combat the growing strength of Voldemort through a combination of intolerance, appeasement and submerged racism. Their active response to the kidnapping of a pureblood Ginny Weasley is aptly compared with their complacency towards the same threats to Mudbloods or children from non-wizarding families. Yet ironically not even Dumbledore is free of discrimination, apparently holding more intolerant racist views in his youth. Rowling¿s books shows a tendency towards prejudice within people as almost inevitable, yet they also show characters transcending their unconscious prejudices about others, finding unlikely alliances with people they previously though were devious, and understanding the flaws in their idols, and the good hearts in people twisted by circumstances. Ms Brown¿s study is a worthy contribution to the continuing questioning of Western culture¿s grand narratives. Harry Pott

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