In this opinion article from the NY Times, writer Hanna Kozlowska argues that Harry Potter is the perfect children’s book because it has underlying themes of prejudice and acceptance. In the Harry Potter series, there is a clear social hierarchy in which the wizards and witches believe that “pure bloods”, or a child born of two magical parents, are at the top of society, followed next by “half-breeds”, or half wizard, half Muggle, and lastly “Muggles”, or non-magic humans. In the story, some characters come from very prejudiced, ignorant families that discriminate against groups comprised of the “other”. Kozlowska sites a study conducted by a psychologist who found that Harry Potter built empathy for various stigmatized groups in the story and could be applied to real life situations with homosexuals, refugees, and immigrants. The author also wrote about the impact Harry Potter has on a child’s personality development and moral development. As the stories develop, Harry confronts the trivial happenings of growing up including his first crush, fighting with friends, and accepting oneself and others.
This article is directly connected to my guiding questions because not only does it illustrate how empathy is represented in a children’s book, but is also discusses the other character development that can occur through a story. Harry Potter is world-famous and read by thousands of children. The topics of overcoming stereotypes and accepting others are interwoven in the general theme of empathy and can be accessed through reading the Harry Potter series.
Kozlowska, H. (2014, September 17). Can ‘harry potter’ change the world? Retrieved July 01, 2016, from http://op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/17/can-harry-potter-change-the-world/
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