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J.K. Rowling's Use Of Literary Devices To Teach Skepticism To Her Readers In Harry Potter Books

2345 words - 9 pages

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has become one of the most popular children’s series in the world over the past decade. Through these books children and young adults alike have delved into a fantastical world in which they explored the problems that their protagonist, Harry Potter, has faced. In Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, the sixth book of the Harry Potter series, Harry dealt with the challenge of proving to his peers and professors that Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape were no longer trustworthy. Even so, Harry failed to realize that the author of the notes in his Advanced Potion-Making book was corrupt. In this book, J.K. Rowling uses point of view, style, and irony to demonstrate the need for people to be more analytical towards sources of authority. Through Harry Potter's interactions with Rufus Scrimgeour, Albus Dumbledore, and his Advanced Potion-Making book, Rowling shows how a lack of criticism towards one's sources of influence can lead to undesirable consequences. In doing so, Rowling demonstrates how "the more we [people] give into base instincts – base in the sense of basic and depraved – the more criminal and destructive we [they] become" (Zipes).
To begin with, Rowling uses Harry Potter’s point of view and style to portray Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic, as a deceptive man. After Scrimgeour becomes Minister of Magic, Harry notices his misleading methods of keeping up the Wizard community’s morale. Harry’s opposition of Scrimgeour’s methods intensifies after reading about the unjust arrest of Stan Shunpike. Harry does not believe the Ministry could take Stan’s playful claims seriously when Stan has the reputation of lying to impress people. Hermione responds to Harry’s confusion, “They [the Ministry] probably want[s] to look as though they’re doing something” (Rowling, 221). Harry agrees with Hermione’s opinion on the matter. Harry’s point of view on the Ministry’s actions shows the audience that the Ministry is continuing to lose credibility from Harry’s perspective. The Ministry’s lack of credibility as illustrated through Harry’s point of view is a theme Rowling repeats in the Harry Potter series. It is Rowling’s style to create controversy in the plot so she can use Harry to address such conflict and in turn teach the readers how to confront injustice in their own world.
An example of how Rowling utilizes Harry’s point of view to face immorality is when Harry questions Scrimgeour on the undeserved arrest of Stan Shunpike. In response to Harry’s confrontation, Scrimgeour responds, “These are dangerous times, and certain measures need to be taken. You are sixteen years old” (346). Scrimgeour’s retort is used to show the perception of children being too young to understand adults’ actions. However, the audience is aware of Harry’s point of view on Stan’s arrest and knows that Harry has made a logical argument on why his arrest was unjust. Rowling makes Harry seem well-informed on Stan Shunpike’s arrest in...

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