The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children's Literature, Vol 13, No 3 (2009)

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Revealing Discrimination: Social Hierarchy and the Exclusion/Enslavement of the Other in the Harry Potter Novels

Amy M Green

Abstract


In this essay, Amy M. Green approaches the Harry Potter series from an inherently Marxist perspective, exploring issues of landlessness and disempowerment in the series.  Gaps are exposed in Rowling’s ostensibly progressive Wizarding world, including failures to challenge extreme systemic inequity even by our favorite characters.  Focusing on Rowling’s treatment of non-human and part-human species, Green explores the tensions inherent in the series’ ideologies of race and identity: centaurs and giants relegated to the (literal) margins of Wizarding society, house-elves complicit in their own subjugation, and lycanthropes forced into hiding their true identities are all expected to both subject themselves to human laws of Wizarding society and retain a sense of loyalty to the very wizards who oppress them.  Green investigates these tensions thoroughly and with sensitivity, offering intriguing possibilities for further study and exploration.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680