: [Fwd: Bullying, DWJ, and Harry Potter...]

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Thu Jan 30 21:59:23 EST 2003


On Fri, 31 Jan 2003 12:29:50 +1000, Ms Kathleen Jennings wrote:

>Kyla Tornheim wrote:
>>primarily funny. Categorizing a quarter of a school as relatively evil
>>simply doesn't make sense; categorizing another quarter as being meek 
>>and
>
>Although the function of the Sorting Hat should be taken into account: 
>people aren't evil because they're in Slytherin, they're put into 
>Slytherin because they're (potentially) like that. And this is, to an 
>extent, a choice - most of the children *want* to be in the house 
>they're in, and Harry makes a choice - and actively pleads - not to be 
>in Slytherin.

I think it would have been more interesting had Harry been put into
Slytherin instead.  Of course, it wouldn't have been the same series.

My oldest daughter used to say that she wanted to be in Slytherin because
there weren't any good people there, and they needed some good people.  We
informed her that the only person who would think like that was a true
Gryffindor.  :)  She still likes Slytherin because you have to be sneaky and
sly.  I think there's evidence that something went wrong with that House
long ago, and just possibly it needs to be put right, because most of the
Slytherin characteristics aren't intrinsically evil, just easily warped.  I
have a lot to say on the subject of the Harry Potter books, their place in
literature, and what's really going on there, but I have no time to be
articulate. 

About bullying, though:  One of the books I just finished plowing through is
_The Hero_ by Ron Woods.  It's flawed in a lot of ways, but one thing the
author does well is depict your basic triangle of bullying.  This involves
the Bully, the Victim, and the Coward.  The hero of the book is the Coward,
who doesn't actively torment the Victim but doesn't stop the Bully (his
cousin) from doing so.  Unfortunately, one of the big flaws was that it was
unclear what story was really being told here.  The author's understanding
of what it's like to stand by while someone else is being picked on is
pretty remarkable.  Had he really focused on this, it would have been a more
powerful story.

Having been, by turns, a bully, a victim, and a coward, I have no one
straightforward perspective on the issue.  It's very confusing sometimes.

Melissa Proffitt

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