Altruism in Contemporary Young Adult Literature

Topics: Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Pages: 4 (1875 words) Published: October 6, 2010
The Harry Potter series is an international literature phenomenon that is both criticised and cherished. Penned by renowned author J.K. Rowling the story of the boy wizard seems to break the barriers of age, race, religion and gender with the range of its fans. This investigation focuses on the Harry Potter series and intends to answer the question of Harry Potter: Selfish or Selfless under the topic of Altruism in Contemporary Young Adult Literature. This investigation is a literature review; unlike a science experiment this report requires are more in-depth analysis of literature on the chosen topic. The intentions of the research are to investigate the topic of Altruism within the Harry Potter series, specifically the choices and sacrifices that the protagonist, Harry Potter, and the antagonist, Tom Riddle or Lord Voldemort. The key findings of this report are the close relationship between the choices and sacrifice both the protagonist and the antagonist and the defining difference between a hero and a villain within the Harry Potter series; this report also focuses on the ‘final’ sacrifice of the protagonist within in the final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. One very important key finding that this report will discuss is that Harry Potter is a teenage boy who just so happens to be a wizard; he is not a wizard who happens to be a teenage boy. The define line between the two statements is what influences many of the choices and sacrifices, and also provide the essence of the story being a journey of a hero that symbolizes the efforts of youth, offering some insights into the inconstancies within humanity.

Altruism is defined as the unselfish concern for the welfare of others or the act of sacrificing one’s own interest for the greater good. The term altruism was coined by Auguste Comte, a 19th century philosopher of science and sociologist. Altruism, or being altruistic, is a key point in many religions, such as Christianity,...

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