Tags: other topics:literary theory

the syntax of things.

A Lockean View of Lord Voldemort

Void of All Characters: A Lockean View of Lord Voldemort, His Genesis, and His Motivations

All ideas come from sensation or reflection. Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas:- How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from EXPERIENCE. In that all our knowledge is founded; and from that it ultimately derives itself.”

- John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding: Book II, Chapter 1

These are the views of Enlightenment philosopher John Locke on human nature.

Feminist Literary Criticsm and the Black Sisters

The idea for this essay cropped up suddenly in my Literary Criticism class where my "incessant scribbling" irritated my professor. Supposedly, I was ignoring her lecture in favor of "mere personal writing whims." Yup, she used alliteration on me. But, back to the subject at hand. Herein I am attempting to deconstruct the three Black sisters by using the rules of the Feminist School of literary criticsm. I will apologize for the length now because I may forget later. :) Collapse )
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  • aoineko

Feminist Characters In Harry Potter

So, I just wrote this paper on Harry Potter for my Young Adult Lit Class and now I have joined this community for the sole purpose of sharing it with you. I am excited about reading everyone else's essays, though! Please comment and let me know what you think. If I get comments before tomorrow, I might be able to fix mistakes before I turn it in!
Apologies if this subject is overdone. I'm writing it for my English teacher and not strictly for Harry Potter fans. With that in mind . . .
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I hope this is appropriate for this community. Apologies if it's not what you're looking for.
Lucius feels pretty

Oedipus Rex in Harry Potter?

I was reading Oedipus Rex in language arts and had one of those "Aha!" moments. Why, you ask? I found Voldemort's mother's name. Merope, in Oedipus Rex, is the name of Oedipus's adoptive mother. I thought to myself: why, that is odd. Why would JKR use the name of Oedipus's adoptive mother, if she was trying to compare Voldie to Oedipus? She could have used Jacosta (the name of Oedipus's birth mother) who is a central character (Merope is only mentioned in passing) and would have made the allusion much more obvious. That was when I thought the comparison was between Oedipus and Voldemort. It certainly does make sense. Oedipus, like Voldemort, hears of this prophecy, and while trying to avoid it he makes it come true. However, the real comparison here is between Harry and Oedipus. Confused?
Click here to read more.
Note: If you haven't read Oedipus Rex and you have some urge to, the full text can be found on sparknotes.com for free!

On Heroes and Mentors: Why Dumbledore Had to Die



We all knew it was coming.  Sooner or later, Dumbledore had to die.  Although many thought that it would come in the seventh book instead of the sixth, mainly because it seemed impossible to think of Hogwarts without Dumbledore, I think that most people knew that Dumbledore couldn’t live to the end of the series.  But how did we know?  I think that for many it was a deeply imbedded foreboding or a sense of “the old guy always has to die”.  What I want to do is examine why, from a literary standpoint, Dumbledore’s death was necessary. 


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  • kaskait

An Experiment in Perception?

I have enjoyed reading everyone's essays for quite awhile. This will be my first post for this community.

My essay in the link below, explores why I think The Half Blood Prince feels odd. The main reason is that JK Rowling made a conscious stylistic change in her writing. This is a concept that I have been playing with for some time. The change centers around her indication of time. The link will take you to my essay.


Jung and Harry Potter - Spoilers for all books

This essay was born in my last semester of college for my 'literature criticism and theory' class. So be prepared for 1) longness and 2) academic dryness. It'd be interesting to update this for HBP, but that means dragging out Jung again and I'm not particularly fond of reading him so that project can wait. I ended up getting an excellent grade for this paper so I thought it worth sharing.:-)

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Who is the proper audience for the Harry Potter "fairy-story"?

Harry Potter is a Hobbit: Rowling, Tolkien, and The Question of Readership

J.K Rowling draws censure from cultural critics and laypersons alike: her works rank among the most challenged books of the last decade due to their supposedly mature content, and yet highly visible reviewers consistently poke fun at their allegedly juvenile nature. Libraries find themselves under siege for including her work in their holdings for youngsters, while at the same time mature readers buy nondescript “adult” editions of her books so they can read the series themselves without drawing public attention or ridicule.

A question emerges from these disparate but repeated lines of fire: if children cannot handle dark and serious issues such as death, and adults should not enjoy such childish and light pleasures as fantasy stories, who if anyone is the proper audience for the Harry Potter series? According to J.R.R. Tolkien, the solution to this dilemma lies not in discovering a new category of readers, but rather in dismissing the false assumptions about childhood, adulthood, and the nature of fantasy that undergird the question. Using the critical essays of C.S. Lewis as the bridge between Tolkien’s theory and Rowling’s practice, we may find a solution to Rowling’s problem of readership and a lasting answer to her critics.

This was originally published by CSL: The Bulletin of the New York C.S. Lewis Society. It is available below, thanks to HogwartsProfessor.com, in PDF format (so you need Adobe Acrobat to open this link).

For whom does the Hogwarts bell toll?