Joanne Rowling’s books on adventures of Harry Potter in the magic world are discussed as perfect examples of literature for children. However, the series about Harry Potter is also actively read by many adults because a lot of philosophical questions are discussed in the books, and researchers are inclined to find different hidden meanings and allegories in the story of an adolescent wizard.
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That is why, today there are many critical articles on the Harry Potter series in which different aspects of the books’ content are analyzed. Being an example of children’s literature, the Harry Potter series is also used the classroom.
To focus on the effective use of the books for stimulating the learning process, it is necessary to examine certain examples of the critical literature on the series in order to choose the most appropriate resource to adapt the book series for teachers’ goals and objectives.
Thus, in his article “Cryptozoology and the Paranormal in Harry Potter: Truth and Belief at the Borders of Consensus”, Peter Dendle discusses the role of the paranormal in the books. Julia Pond in her work “A Story of the Exceptional: Fate and Free Will in the Harry Potter Series” pays attention to the combination fate and free will in the story.
In spite of the fact that both the critical works contribute significantly to understanding the Harry Potter series, Dendle’s article is more relevant regarding the preparation of the books for using in the classroom because of providing the detailed analysis of issues influential for children’s development.
In his article, Peter Dendle concentrates on the role of the paranormal, especially cryptozoology, in the books about Harry Potter. This concept is analyzed in association with the role of learning and knowledge. The author of the article states the books present the story of the characters’ searching for new knowledge in order to resolve the important or life-threatening issues.
Furthermore, it is important to pay attention to the role of authority figures which can help characters find the solution and acquire the new knowledge or prevent Harry Potter and his friends from receiving the important information. Harry Potter’s adventures develop in the context of the paranormal world, and the characters seek for answering the questions about the magic figures.
Dendle states that the world of knowledge crosses the world of the paranormal in the field of pseudosciences which are described in the books (Dendle, 2011). The author focuses on discussing the aspects of the paranormal and cryptozoology in comparison with the objects and situations from the real world, applying the aspects of the magic world to the reality.
On the contrary, Julia Pond in her article is inclined to discuss the features of the books from the theoretical perspective, using the theories of Friedrich Nietzsche about will and fatalism and Joseph Campbell about the mythological hero. Thus, compared to Dendle’s approach and practical associations with the reality, Pond’s discussion of the Harry Potter series is more theoretical in its nature.
Pond claims that less attention is paid to the analysis of the balance of free will and fate in the books about Harry Potter that is why it is important to concentrate on this issue (Pond, 2010). The author of the article provides the detailed analysis of the evidences of fate in the story in the form of magic objects and the evidences of free will which is reflected in the behaviours of the main characters.
Pond states that following the theory of Campbell, Harry Potter is the typical mythological hero. However, it is necessary to distinguish between myth and fairy tale in relation to the story about Harry Potter (Pond, 2010). Pond’s arguments are convincing because they are based on the proper analysis of details and facts from the text with references to the above-mentioned theories.
Nevertheless, the analysis provided by Dendle can be discussed as more consistent and logical. Thus, the author connects the concept of knowledge with the issues of cryptozoology basing on the discussion and explanation of cryptozoology as the modern tendency.
According to Dendle, cryptozoology can be discussed as a result of combing the objects of the people’s fantasy with the culture and reality imposed by the tabloids and media (Dendle, 2011). From this point, at each stage of his analysis, Dendle uses the real evidences and apply the story’s peculiarities to the reality.
That is why, Dendle’s arguments are logical and convincing. The description of the wizard world becomes more detailed, and many aspects are examined from the perspective of the contemporary world.
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Although both the articles are useful for understanding the multidimensional nature of the Harry Potter series, the work by Pond is appropriate for the discussion of the books at the higher level than the work with the series in the classroom.
The provided theoretical background does not present the practical contributions for adapting the story for children and for explaining its aspects. That is why, the article by Dendle is more appropriate for working out the plan of using the books in the children’s studying process.
To support teachers’ certain goals and objectives, it is possible to refer to the discussion in Dendle’s article and concentrate on the role of knowledge and learning in the human life. The role models of Harry Potter and his friends are interesting to be discussed from the point of their pursuing for knowledge, problem solution, and discoveries.
Dendle’s article focuses on the details in the books which can be used as illustrations to explain the role of learning to children in the classroom. Thus, the books can be appropriate to develop the discussion on the importance of knowledge and information, and on the role of authorities in the learning process with references to the positive and negative examples discussed in the article by Dendle.
Although the author pays much attention to the analysis of cryptozoology issues in the books, his implications and conclusions associated with the modern reality are important to state the connection of the books with the modern life while presenting the material to children.
Thus, the article “Cryptozoology and the Paranormal in Harry Potter: Truth and Belief at the Borders of Consensus” written by Peter Dendle as the critical analysis of the Harry Potter series is more useful in the classroom than the discussion provided by Julia Pond.
The article by Pond is based on the complex theoretical analysis which is rather difficult to use and interpret while teaching children with the books about Harry Potter as sources. The association of the Harry Potter’s world with the classroom reality is more relevant for the usage in the studying process.
Dendle, P. (2011). Cryptozoology and the paranormal in Harry Potter: Truth and belief at the borders of consensus. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 36(4), 410-425.
Pond, J. (2010). A story of the exceptional: Fate and free will in the Harry Potter Series. Children’s Literature, 38(1), 181-206.