Notions of Class in the Harry Potter Novels

INTRODUCTION

The world in which one lives today is one that is not different from the past in many aspects. Though there have been several changes in society, there are still several things that remain the same.

Human lifestyle undoubtedly has changed along with the way that people think. However, memories and records of events and the like are not always forgotten. People may not forget things easily, and some make it a point to hang on to memories and even grudges. Historic events may be recorded solely for the purpose of preserving thoughts of the world so that man, in time to come, would have a chance of knowing his roots.

Through history, one important thing that has come to man’s attention is the existence of inequalities through time. Inequalities have always existed, and these have always been a major source of conflict.

Conflict has always been known man, and has never been a stranger to man at any point in time. This is not to say that wars always raged across the earth, but certainly does mean that atrocities and the like always existed. The hostilities and crime that one witnesses today is hardly different from the crimes that were committed in the past. The only thing that makes it much more different to what it was in the past is that there is technology on one’s side today. Instead of this being of greater help to man today, it has resulted in much more death and destruction, all starting from inequalities in resources. Theorists like Karl Marx and Stephen Greenblatt are individuals that would be able to shed greater light on the disharmony in society. Their views on social living also help one to understand the way that things were and are today, and how similar conflicts may be through time .

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Domination could take almost any form, and this would depend on what kind of resources one class has. If one has economic resources, it is possible to dominate others extensively. In Marxist terms, domination is usually because the resources a class has in hand. If a class has economic resources, it has greater strength and can dominate others. If the resources have limited value, they cannot dominate all that much. In addition to the possession of resources that causes conflict, there is also something known as a sense of belonging. If a person feels that another is not of his status or does not speak the language that s/he does, conflict might arise. However, “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open” .

Aside from the differences in resources and the conflict that takes place because of a difference in resources, Marxism has other values. It is a theory that explains social change, which is why it can be applied to various situations of conflict. The reason for this is that there always has to be a reason for conflict, and this refers to differences in resources of strengths . Marxism being a macro-sociological theory is one that can also apply to smaller setups. This means that it can apply to communities as well even though a community is only a part of a larger society. However, this makes sense because of the fact that it also applies to a whole state that itself a smaller part of a global environment .

Being a theory that can be used to see significance in communities, it is one that can be applied to the magician’s community in Harry Potter Novels by J.K Rowling. The community in Harry Potter Novels is perfect for implementing Marxist theory. This is because of the fact that there is existence of segregation, class/group conflict, oppression, slavery, Prejudice, etc. existing in the community. It is all these factors that expose the importance of Marxist theory and the way that communities go through changes during conflict. The stages in a conflict are also clearly visible as one reads through the Harry Potter books. These stages are similar to Marxist explanations, and are also in sync with social changes that occur because of conflicts .

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In addition to the class conflict that would occur because of control over resources or magical powers, there is also the case of descent. Descent or heritage is an issue in Harry Potter stories as well because those who belong to an original group are believed to be rightful heirs and have authorized control. This is something that is explained by other theories as well, but Marxism primarily considers these to be because of beliefs and doctrines that are embedded in people’s minds. They are also most likely to occur because of the control that people believe they are entitled to when they are of original or pure descent . This is precisely the case wit the pure bloods that think they are rightful owners of magic. The purebloods assumed that they have the rights to magic and only they should be allowed to study at the school of magic. They wanted the half bloods and the mudbloods ousted. However, since they could not do it through fair means they resorted to other means. At various stages of the whole story of Harry Potter’s experience this is demonstrated. Not only is Harry Potter subject to their unfair means but so are many innocent people. The pure bloods are willing to go to any length to dominate and gain control over all others. They want to gain control in the wider society by first taking over the magic school and proving themselves as rightful owners of magic. They are inbred and come from generations of practice. Albus Dumbledore asserts: “You place too much importance… on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be! “

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