19 Jul 2009

Essays on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Stories of young men and women coming of age and learning they are more than they seem abound in the world of literature.  Yet in recent years, this genre has been taken to new heights by J. K. Rowling through her Harry Potter Series.  As occasionally happens in international publishing, the story was renamed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for its release in the United States.

In the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry starts as a pre-adolescent boy who grew up living with non magical folk, also known as “muggles,” because his parents died when he was a baby.  Harry has a scar on his right forehead that he later learns is a mark of a powerful curse that was put upon him as a baby.  The curse was cast upon him by Lord Voldemort and was intended to kill him and his parents, yet he survived.  His parents were fighting against a wizard that had gone bad, so he killed them with a curse.  Voldemort in his attempt to kill Harry found his power reflected upon himself and was seriously injured, diminishing his power as a wizard.

The community of wizards thought that Voldemort was gone completely, yet dark secrets stalked young Harry Potter.  Throughout his young life, strange things happen around him until the day his first letter from Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry arrives.  With his uncle’s aggressive persistence in keeping Harry from receiving the letters, Harry becomes increasingly determined to find out what the letters are all about, even after his uncle moves the family to a remote island in an attempt to escape the flood of letters that grows with each passing day.  It is there, on Harry’s birthday, that Hagrid, groundskeeper of Hogwart’s, finally shows up to tell Harry the truth.  He is a wizard!

Based in part on reality, the “Philosopher’s Stone” was a substance that early alchemists were convinced would turn any metal into gold.  How does the additional mythos of eternal life factor into such an environment and how does it affect the nature of the storyline?

Voldemort is described as being hungry for power and willing to kill anyone in his way.  Harry is his dichotic opposite, having no desire for power and caring for all those around him.  Discuss the manner in which Rowling builds this image and critique its effectiveness.

Hidden within the novel is an underlying message of power being safest in the hands of those who don’t want it.  Find examples of this theme and discuss how this philosophy affects the actions of Harry Potter and his friends.

In addition to being a modern classic, Rowling’s first novel also demonstrates the tensions that occur between publishers and writers.  Rowling has expressed remorse over the renaming of the U.S. release of the story, yet does not regret allowing its publication in the U.S.  In the relationship between students and their instructors, issues of this nature are not uncommon.  Our team of dedicated writers understands this and is ready to assist you with any revisions necessary to help make your paper or presentation perfect.  All we need is your order to get started.

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