What’s this site all about?
This site is where I’m posting my research and working drafts for my honors thesis, “Ending Dualism at Hogwarts: Reading Harry Potter as Postmodern Apocalyptic Fiction.” For a summary of my argument, please read my thesis abstract.
Can you really do the Rubik’s cube?
Yes. It’s easy to learn when you’re on a sailboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean without the internet or cell phones. I recommend you try it. My best time is just under three minutes.
Why Harry Potter? Wouldn’t a more serious thesis be a better way to spend your time and energy?
Even if you don’t accept the literary value of the books (and I disagree, but I can’t change your mind in a few sentences, you’ll have to read the rest of the site for that!), they’re worth studying just as a sociological phenomenon. More than 400 million copies have been sold – that’s more than To Kill a Mockingbird, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, Catcher in the Rye, Little Women, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe combined. That puts a lot of kids (and adults!) on the receiving end of a pretty explicit moral message about the importance of love, selflessness, tolerance and social justice. I don’t think it would be a waste of time to study how Rowling was able to achieve that kind of success. It would certainly be of interest to future authors and anyone else who also wants to promote those values in a way people can understand and enjoy. As someone who falls into that latter group, I think this project is just about as serious as it gets.
Okay, but why should we listen to you? It’s not like you’re the Hogwarts Professor, or anything.
Nope, and I don’t have all seven books memorized, either. I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on Harry Potter or apocalyptic fiction. What I do claim, though, is to have an original idea that brings the two together. John Granger, the Potter pundit you mentioned above, has written both about the books as postmodern literature and about the end of the doctrine that divides the wizarding world based on schoolyard prejudices. Elizabeth Rosen’s work on postmodern apocalyptic fiction examines how authors and filmmakers challenge the legitimacy of moral systems based on apocalyptic absolutism. I argue that these two are one and the same, that J.K. Rowling’s fictional story about prejudice in the wizarding world is based on the apocalyptic story set forth in the Book of Revelation. To overthrow one within the safe pages of a fantasy series is to undermine the other, with far more serious implications. Additionally, Granger believes the Harry Potter series is an affirmation of Christian values, symbols and themes. That being the case, this project also helps Rosen’s definition of postmodern apocalyptic fiction evolve beyond the uniformly secular, even anti-religious, stories she discusses.
Are you active in fandom?
I went to Infinitus last summer and I listen to a few wizard rock bands. I also attended the 2010 Quidditch World Cup and the New York City Wrock Festival. I lurk around various communities on Livejournal and consider myself fairly up-to-date on fandom happenings, but I haven’t posted any writing or art. This summer I’ll be attending the By Fans 4 Fans Con in Seattle and LeakyCon 2011…and I can’t wait!
Can I use your writing for my own _____?
Yes, but please give me credit! All of my writing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Additionally, you can use my writing in accordance with the fair rights exception (from the wikipedia article: Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship). The MLA 7 citation for the work on this website is: Tobias, Ariana. “Ending Dualism at Hogwarts: Reading Harry Potter as Postmodern Apocalyptic Fiction.” Thesis. Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, CUNY, 2011. Ending Dualism at Hogwarts. Macaulay Honors College, 05 June 2011. Web. Date Accessed. (Don’t forget to change the date accessed!)
Also, it’s very flattering that you asked, but please keep in mind that my thesis is unpublished and has not been reviewed by anyone except my faculty advisors. I’ve done my very best to cite all of my sources, but for all you know, I could be making everything up. Don’t trust everything you read on the internet!
My question isn’t answered here! What can I do?
Send me an e-mail! I’d love to hear from you!