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Postmodernism in Harry Potter

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Madison Knapp

on 11 November 2013

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Transcript of Postmodernism in Harry Potter

Postmodernism in Harry Potter
What is Postmodernism?
Postmodernism is a way of analyzing literature by applying ideas surrounding the unreliability and questioning of truths, language, and the world as a whole
When a piece exhibits motifs and styles used in other works. Can be a visual stylistic choice, or a structural and theme choice.
The real truth is unknown, by both characters and reader, purposefully done.
Meta Fiction
Layers of identities or reality that make it difficult to distinguish between what real and whats not.
Black Humor
When human suffering is regarded as absurd, and mere human existence is pointless, takes a very morbid outlook on things.
The Bible- prophecy
In the bible when the king learned of Jesus the King's birth, he sent three wise men to find and kill him, so as not to lose his power to the new born king.
In Harry Potter, when Voldemort heard the following prophecy, "...the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies" he sent out to kill the baby before his power could be taken.
The Bible- Self Sacrifice
Forest with disciples/ meets people along his walk with the cross
Willingly walks to his death, carrying the cross
Dies to save mankind
Harry Potter
Forest with dead friends
Walks forward to his death, with no resistance
Sacrifices himself to save everyone else
'comes back to life'
The Tale of the Deathly Hallows
When told in the movie, a very stylistic silhouette shadow-play was used to portray the story.
Severus Snape
Until the fourth to last chapter of the series, Snape's true alliance and motives are unknown.
Unbreakable vow with Narcissa
Kills Dumbledore
Only shows outward hatred towards Harry and speaks with loathing of his father
Dumbledore trusts completely
Helps Harry learn occlumency
King's Cross
The scene in King's Cross embodies Metafiction perfectly.
Is this place real or imagined?
Where is it? Purgatory? Heaven? Simply the afterlife? A dream?
This is unknown to both the reader and Harry.

After Harry is 'killed' he 'wakes up' at King's cross station where he is met by Dumbledore.
Magic is Might Statue
Charity Burbage
She was a muggle studies teacher at Hogwarts.
She was killed for entertainment at a Death Eater meeting because of her beliefs about muggle- wizard relationships.
Moral Ethics
Different perceptions of what's OK, and what's not.
Voldemort kills left and right never finding it immoral or regretting it.
Subjective Truth
Truth is known through personal experiences, truths are relative to an individual
Slughorn's Memory
Many years ago, Tom Riddle asked Slughorn about making Horcruxes, a way to split one's soul and store pieces in an object.
Slughorn was ashamed of giving Tom information on the making of them, so he warped his own memory into something other than the truth.
The part of metaphysics questioning the meaning of existence
After Voldemort is killed the first time, but before he is embodied again, does he exist?

He has a spirit, or soul per say, but his true existence is unknown.

Does a seventh of a soul by itself constitute an existence?
A story written about a belief or writing unquestioned by an individual.
The Prophecy
Trelawney saw a prophecy in 1980, saying a boy will be born at the end of July that would have the capability's to defeat the Dark Lord.
"Voldemort tried to kill you when you were a child because of a prophecy made shortly before your birth. He knew the prophecy had been made, though he did not know its full contents. He set out to kill you when you were still a baby, believing he was fulfilling the terms of the prophecy. "
The books and movies that are Harry Potter exhibit many postmodern qualities. Characters such as Voldemort and Snape, The Prophecy, and the ending chapters of the novel contribute greatly to the postmodernism seen in Harry Potter.
Harry Potter
"He didn't want to be tempted to fight... He felt his wand against his chest, but he made no attempt to draw it."
"Beside him, making scarcely a sound, walked James, Sirius, Lupin and Lily, and their presence was his courage..."
stop 1:30
skip to 1:10, end at 1:45
"His job was to walk into Death's welcoming arms. Along the way he was to dispose of Voldemort's remaining links to life... Neither would live, neither could survive."
Book Quote
"'Tell me one last thing,'" said Harry, 'Is this real, or has it been happening inside my head?'...
'Of course this is happening inside your head Harry, but why on Earth should that mean that this is not real?'"
"'Avada Kedarvra.'
The flash of green light illuminated every corner of the room. Charity fell, with a resounding crash, onto the table below...
'Dinner Nagini,'"
Albus Dumbledore: This is perhaps the most important memory I've collected. It is also a lie. This memory has been tampered with by the same person whose memory it is, our old friend, Professor Slughorn.
Harry Potter: But why would he tamper with his own memory?
Albus Dumbledore: I suspect he's ashamed of it.
Harry Potter: Why?
Albus Dumbledore: Why, indeed? I asked you to get to know Professor Slughorn, and you have done so. Now I want you to persuade him to divulge his true memory any way you can.
"'Oh, very funny, it's horrible isn't it?'... 'Have you seen what they're sitting on?'
Harry looked more closely and realized...[they] were actually carved humans: hundreds and hundreds of naked bodies... pressed together to support the weight of the handsomely robed wizards.
'Muggles,' whispered Hermione,'In their rightful place.'"
King's Cross
Harry has been hit with a killing curse, and finds himself in an unknown place, in an unknown state.
"It came to him that he must exist, must be disembodied thought, because he was lying, definitely lying, on some surface. Therefore he had a sense of touch, and the thing against which he lay existed too."
Given the choice to 'return' to the real world from King's Cross station.
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