Orphans in the Literature of J.K. Rowling
Topics: Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows / Pages: 17 (4170 words) / Published: May 4th, 2010

Etta Priest
15 December 2009
Major Literary Figures

Orphans in Rowling 's Harry Potter Series

An orphan is a child permanently bereaved of his or her parents through death. UNICEF reports that there are between one hundred and forty-three million and two hundred and ten million orphans worldwide and, furthermore, that five thousand seven-hundred and sixty minors become parentless daily. With the gargantuan quantity of bereft children, it is no surprise that literary protagonists are frequently orphaned. From Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, victims of parent loss have been molded into key characters. One of the most recent, and most famous, orphans in literature is J.K. Rowling 's Harry Potter. However, in her seven book series, Rowling chose to bereave the antagonist of his parents as well, displaying an interesting line between the choices that are made that lead to good and evil. A common African proverb states that it takes a community to raise a child. The English term community originates from the Latin word communitatus, which can be divided into three essential features. "Com-" is a Latin prefix that indicates togetherness. Public duties are associated with the root, "munis." The suffix, "-tatus" refers to something little or residential. Localities in which people reside under one government with common interests are commonly known as communities. While the beings within these groups will posses differentiating qualities, a homogenous element that bonds the people together must exist. In the Harry Potter novels, the wizarding world is set apart from the common humans, muggles, through the ability to perform magic and the passion to understand its potential. Within the network of wizards, individual communities exist based on geographical locations, natural abilities, and a desire for improvement. Rowling emphasizes the necessity of community in order to mature



Cited: "The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination | Harvard Magazine." Harvard Alumni Magazine. N.p., 5 June 2008. Web. 2 Dec. 2009. . Nobel Lectures, Peace 1971-1980, Editor-in-Charge Tore Frängsmyr, Editor Irwin Abrams, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1997. Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York: Scholastic Paperbacks, 2007. Print Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic Paperbacks, 2002. Print Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic Paperbacks, 2005. Print. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic Paperbacks, 2001. Print. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer 's Stone. New York: Scholastic Inc, 1997. Print. "Unite For Children." UNICEF. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2009. "What Happens to Our Wishes: Magical Thinking in Harry Potter." Project Muse. Children 's Literature Association Quarterly, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2009. .

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