These extracts give a different perspective on events and though the texts are often misleading and unreliable, they allow the reader to deduce information beyond Harry’s initial assumptions.In addition, in the latter novels there are slightly more occasions where other characters act as focalizer, noticeably the two opening chapters of : ‘The Other Minister’ and ‘Spinner’s End’. Instead of the polyfocalization that Pullman employs, Rowling complicates her narrative by directing it to what Fife calls ‘the hermeneutic narratee’. She defines this hermeneutic narratee as ‘the person to whom the narrator tells the story, expecting that he or she will fill in the narratorial gaps, figure things out, solve the mysteries, or guess hidden symbolism.’ Another important term in relation to this concept is the ‘fabula’, meaning the ‘larger entirety of the story, the chronological series of events of the story, the untold events and nuances, and all the multiple levels of meaning to be found within the story.’ Within the narrative, Hermione functions as the hermeneutic narratee and figures out the fabula for the novels, and as Fife argues, it is this character that ‘the reader should emulate.’ As Behr points out, Hermione is ‘presented as the know-it-all source of knowledge’ from the beginning of the series, and is established ‘as an authority’. Behr argues that Hermione ‘consistently modifies the reader’s perceptions of people and things, acting as the rational, balanced voice opposing Harry’s anger, suggesting alternative understandings of people, relationships and facts.’ The reason she is able to do this, is because she less likely than Harry to jump to conclusions, is able to remember significant details and perceive the subtext, for instance deducing from Professor Umbridge’s speech at the beginning of that the Ministery of Magic is interfering at Hogwarts. Because of her perceptiveness and insight, Professor Mc Gonagal instructs Harry to listen to Hermione, thereby setting her up as an authority again. Since Hermione functions as the hermeneutic narratee, she functions as an example to the reader who should question Harry’s quick assumptions.The essays in this collection assume that Rowling's works should not be relegated to the categories of pulp fiction or children's trends, which would deny their certain influence on the intellectual, emotional, and psychosocial development of today's children.
In addition, though the figure of the alethiometer, Pullman hints at the different levels of meaning within the text and indicates two different categories of readers, and thus also methods of reading, to approach the text.
The complexity of the narratives as well as the different reading strategies indicated, allow for a highly sophisticated level of reading of the text and contradicts the seeming simplicity of the texts.
Maria Nikolajeva names several examples of the supposed simplicity of children’s literature such as it having ‘a clear and unambivalent address’, it being shorter than adult novels, having a chronological narrative, and often having a ‘distinct narrative voice, often an omniscient, didactic (presumably adult) narrator.’ It follows logically that were children’s literature as complex as adult literature than its popularity with an adult audience would not be an indicator of this so-called ‘dumbing down’ in contemporary culture.
Both the Harry Potter series and , whereas in the Harry Potter series there are more subtle, although no less interesting, references.
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Reading Harry Potter Critical Essays Giselle Liza Anatol Emerson Essay On Heroism
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Rowling plants clues but ‘simultaneously entrap[s] the careless reader into false assumptions and ignoring the clues’. The reader is invited to reread the story again to discover these clues, and as the re-reader knows the fabula for that specific novel, the reader is re-reading as a hermeneutic reader. A different type of reader is presented symbolically in through the alethiometer.
The alethiometer is an instrument resembling a compass from which an alethiometrist can read truth.
Polyfocalization is different from an omniscient and omnipresent narrator because in each episode, ‘only one character is focalized externally as well as internally.’ This puts the reader in a curious position, because it means that ‘the final picture of what is happening at the same time in different places and in the different characters’ minds can only be assembled by the reader’. In , Harry remains the principle focalizer throughout the series.
Through the use of, for example, the Pensieve and its respective memories, the reader is exposed to a larger variety of viewpoints, yet the focalizer in these scenes remains Harry.