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Prejudice in Harry Potter

Prejudice in Harry Potter



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Published by Monica Kempski

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Published by: Monica Kempski on Sep 29, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Kempski 1Monica KempskiWGST199-01Professor Uman4/16/10
Prejudice in Harry Potter
Imagine you are an orphan who lives with your abusive aunt and uncle.Besides your glasses and an unusual scar on your forehead, you have no form of personal identity; therefore, you feel worthless. Suddenly, your life changes as youbecome introduced to a wondrous magical world, where you feel you truly belong. This is the story of the
Harry Potter 
books. Although the series are often regarded aschildren’s books, J.K. Rowling’s phenomenon has touched millions and millions of people worldwide. What most people identify with
Harry Potter is
the idea of wavingwands and flying around on broomsticks; however, the story is much more thanthat. What most people fail to see is that there are very important themes that takethe story to a whole new, more complex level. Throughout her books, J.K. Rowlingmakes it apparent that racism is wrong through the actions of “evil” characters;however, even good characters will continue to engage in such activity because itgives them a sense of higher status or acceptance in society. Thus, it is importantto overcome racism and stand up for what is right: this lesson is definitely evident inRowling’s work.As a whole, the
Harry Potter 
series contains evidence of racism. Throughoutthe seven novels, people are judged by the “blood-type” they have in relation tobeing a wizard. The different blood types found in the wizarding world contribute to
Kempski 2the notion of racial superiority. The all wizard blood type is prestigious and deemedsuperior to the part wizards, creatures, or the pure muggles. Furthermore, thesedifferent levels of society contribute to feelings of unjustified hatred towardsdifferent groups in society. To sum up the racist relations between the differenttypes of wizards, the muggles, and the creatures, Rowling created a gargantuansymbol of the superior racist attitudes felt by some wizards- the Fountain of MagicalBrethren located in the Ministry of Magic. The fountain features a noble witch andwizard “sitting on mounds of carved humans: hundreds and hundreds of nakedbodies, [muggle] men, women, and children, all with rather stupid, ugly faces,twisted and pressed together to support the weight of the handsomely robedwizard” (Rowling,
Deathly Hallows
242). Thus, the muggles are the foundations of wizards, yet they are to be held as subservient to a wizard’s needs. Their “stupidugly faces” also portray that the muggles are unintelligent and inferior to wizards.In addition to this thrown, the fountain contains an elf, a goblin, and a centaurlooking adoringly at the wizards. Thus, the wizards are portrayed as godly leaders inthe eyes of the creatures (even though ample evidence points to their abuse bywizards). A final detail in the statue is the inscription of “Magic is Might.”Consequently, this reflects the superior wizarding feeling that having magic gives aperson power and elite status. Upon analyzing this statue, one can conclude thatwizards are being portrayed as dominant over every living creature and human.J.K Rowling has a particular way of portraying the racist characters in hernovels. Uncoincidently, all of the evil racist characters are mean or biologicallyawkward. These descriptions make the reader unable to like the character orconnect to him or her. In turn, they see the character’s racist ideas as wrong. Tobegin, Draco Malfoy is portrayed several times as malicious and unfeeling. When
Kempski 3the first incident of the Chamber of Secrets occurs, Rowling creates the scenewhere Draco states “You’ll be next, Mudbloods!“ and follows with the description“He had pushed to the front of the crowd, his cold eyes alive, his usually bloodlessface flushed, as he grinned at the sight of the hanging, immobile cat” (Rowling,
Chamber of Secrets
139). This scene definitely portrays the notion of Draco being aracist by using the term “mud-blood” to refer to the muggle-born. In addition, theyway he pushed thought the crowd serves as evidence that he thinks he is superiorto everyone else and can treat them unfairly. To portray him as unfavorable,Rowling provides Malfoy with an adverse description of “cold eyes” and a “usuallyblood-less face.” With these “cold eyes alive” and “usually bloodless face flushed”one can assume that Draco is excited by the killing of people inferior to him. The Gaunt family also receives unnerving depictions from Rowling. MorfinGaunt, the man who tried to harm a muggle was described as having “thick hair somatted with dirt it could have been any color. Several of his teeth were missing. Hiseyes were small and dark and stared in opposite directions. He might have lookedcomical, but he did not; the effect was frightening” (Rowling,
Half-Blood Prince
201).Rowling’s zany description of the character could only go with her belief thatMorfin’s racist ideas are as crazy as his description. The evil Lord Voldemort alsohas disturbing characteristics that make his racist ideals not relatable. Upon hisreturn to power, Harry describes his face as “whiter than a skull, with wide, lividscarlet eyes and a nose that was flat as a snake’s with slits for nostrils” (Rowling,
Goblet of Fire
643). With his snake-like inhuman appearance, Lord Voldemort isautomatically assumed as evil, along with all of his racist beliefs.

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