The Impact of Preconceived Notions : A Literary Study of Moral Complexity in the Harry Potter Series

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/HLK, Ämnesforskning

Abstract: This essay examines the use of the character Harry Potter as focalizer in the Harry Potter series. The objective is to see how Harry’s preconceived notions are caused by his inability to grasp moral complexity. The study is conducted by a close reading of the novels with the focus on the relationship between Harry and the character Severus Snape. The study is based on the theoretical foundation of narratology by Gérard Genette, as well as Wolfgang Iser’s explanation of the implied reader. Many instances of interaction between Harry and Snape in the book series are dependent on Harry’s viewpoint and his preconceived notions. Harry as the focalizer of the text affects the implied reader’s given view of Snape, while the real reader sees other parts of his personality due to the independence from the focalizer’s point-of-view. Snape’s moral complexity shows by the choices he makes is the cause of the misconceptions held by Harry and the implied reader. 

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