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Themes And Rhetorical Devices In Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone

1885 words - 8 pages

Seemingly every year, there is a new children or young adult book series that takes the world by storm, although forgettable after a short period of time. However, ever since the first book was published in 1997, the Harry Potter collection has continued to gain popularity, shown especially in the achievements of the movies, merchandise, and theme park attractions. One of the reasons behind the overwhelming success is J.K. Rowling’s use of rhetorical devices. For instance, her symbolism, themes, imagery, and foreshadowing add suspense and intrigue to the first novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which results in the reader eager to read more about the boy wizard. If the story ...view middle of the document...

However, the scene in which Harry is delivered by Dumbledore contains a great amount of imagery, particularly at the very beginning. It was said that “he held [the lighter] up in the air, and clicked it…the nearest street lamp went out…twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him (Rowling 9). In addition, Rowling used imagery to describe Hagrid’s appearance and entrance. For instance, she stated that “it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky – and a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them (Rowling 14). In addition, she described the man as looking “too big to be allowed, and so wild - long tangles of bushy black hair and beard that hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins” (Rowling 14). Without these descriptions, the reader would be left in the dark about basic information that is useful in understanding the plot.
Once Harry was accepted to Hogwarts, he was told that he needed to purchase a variety of school supplies, such as a wand, robe, and books, which could only be bought at Diagon Alley. This location contains numerous stores for these purposes, including Flourish and Blotts, Eeylops Owl Emporium, and Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. They are all explained using much detail, such as the following statements about the various books for sale: “the shelves were stacked to the ceiling with books as large as paving stones bound in leather; books the size of postages stamps in covers of silk; books full of peculiar symbols and a few books with nothing in them at all” (Rowling 80). In addition, Harry explained the Apothecary by saying that it was “fascinating enough to make up for its horrible smell, a mixture of bad eggs and rotted cabbages. Barrels of slimy stuff stood on the floor; jars of herbs, dried roots, and bright powders lined the walls, bundles of feathers, strings of fangs, and snarled claws hung from the ceiling” (Rowling 80-81). Finally, Gringotts, the wizarding bank, was described as having “vaults hundreds of miles beneath London’s streets (like the real silver vaults beneath modern London) full of wizard gold protected by enchantments” (Schafer 85). This is the reader’s first introduction to the wizarding world, which results in a peaked interest to learn more about this unfamiliar culture. (Gillespie 62-63)
The rest of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone took place at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Harry, along with many other students, learned how to be adult wizards and witches. It is explained as being “situated atop a steep cliff overlooking a lake and forest and surrounded by mountains…often obscured by fog, Hogwarts might seem perplexing and illusionary to uninformed outsiders, but insiders comprehend fully” (Schafer 74). When uHarry first...

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