Harry Potter discussion

Books > Harry Potter is a great story, even if it's not very good litterature

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message 1: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

Elizabeth (dizzylizzie34) | 2 comments My teachers are always like, "read something good for you! Harry Potter is so bad!" Who cares if it's not good litterature? It's Harry Potter! And who doesn't like to read Harry Potter?

message 2: by Rachel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

Rachel have your teachers ever read the books? i will admit that the first two, maybe even three are a bit adolescent, but the rest of the books are absolutely great literature. her characters are heroic but flawed, her plot lines are complex, her imagery and foreshadowing are impeccable, and her themes are deep and layered. and i don't think anyone could read "the forest again" and not think that is beautiful writing. so, basically i think your teachers are stupid.

message 3: by Jaime (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

Jaime At least your reading...

message 4: by Cindy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

Cindy (supercin721) | 26 comments I am a teacher and I get so angry to hear this. You are reading something that interests you and it is good literature. There are themes in these stories that resonate with you in your every day life. As for the style, hints are interwoven into the fabric of the story, character dynamics are alive, the stories are heart warming. Would I love my students to be reading something more "classical"? Sure, a little '1984' never hurt anyone but not everyone has to like it. Has anyone tried to read 'Mrs Dalloway' or anything else by Virginia Woolf. It's "great" literature but her writing is a stream of consciousness and not to my liking. I loved 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy but they took me forever to get through because of Tolkein's obsession with tangents. Some people have an aversion to modern works, acting like they are beneath them, and only uphold those classic works. In this instance, I would say ignore your teachers and read what you want. I've always loved reading...ALWAYS...and in middle school (8th grade) my godmother gave me a romance novel. Granted, they are, by nature, formulaic and present one with an unrealistic romance or suspense story. Still, noone dissuaded me from reading. I was also a big Sweet Valley fan. And we know that isn't some great piece of literature either. And yet, my pallet grew as I did.

message 5: by Peng (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:52PM) (new)

Peng | 317 comments HARRY POTTER NOT A VERY GOOD LIT??????? what the..... could any of your teacher imagined the things jk described to us? she sent us to a totally different world where we still think of and such forum was born! they were originally children's book, rachel, so they were meant to attract the kids. and look at how many children are reading books because of harry potter! i know people who don't like reading (even the harry potter series) but they were totally amazed on how jk came up with all these awesome ideas. the things people say just because they couldn't understand.... those are really serious muggles, elizabeth's teachers....

message 6: by T.K. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:52PM) (new)

T.K. Kenyon | 7 comments JKR studied modern lit. She knows what she's doing. The books are a lot more complex than anyone give them credit for. Stephen King wrote an excellent defense in, um, maybe ForeWord? I've forgotten which mag. Just google it.

Send your teacher to mugglenet.com and have her read the essays explicating the complex themes and post-modern references in the books.

That'll shut 'er up.

TK Kenyon

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message 7: by Rachel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:52PM) (new)

Rachel yeah, peng, i know they were written for kids. what i was saying is that the first two were rather simple compared to the rest. and if her teachers only read those two, then maybe i could see where they are coming from. but, as the rest of my post stated, i absolutely don't agree with them.

message 8: by Peng (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:52PM) (new)

Peng | 317 comments yeah, jk is great in her writing skills! i couldn't understand some of her underlying writings which absolutely has very logical meaning once i get enlightened and i'm looking forward to her future projects.

message 9: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:53PM) (new)

Meghan | 686 comments I TOTALLY LOVE H.P. I can't believe they don't think it is good literature. You tell them that they can like what they like and you can like what you like, but not to call it BAD LITERATURE!

message 10: by Pamela (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:54PM) (new)

Pamela (teacupfangirl) Having studied Harry Potter as literature in a university setting, in a course taught by a Harvard alum medievalist, I think your teacher doesn't quite know what she's talking about.

Rowling is well-studied and incorporates many complex themes and much intertextuality in her books. The first two are more simple than the last, but to say that these books were written for children and leave it at that is a problem. I get the distinct feeling that they are marketed to children, not written for them. And anyway, why is a book that's aimed at young adults somehow less worthy? There's a whole academic field out there for studying young adult lit.

I get the feeling that many teachers/professors who protest that Harry Potter isn't "good literature" (whatever that means) are stuck on the old school canon of "classics." I'd much rather study Rowling than Melville.

message 11: by Arun (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:56PM) (new)

Arun K There are many views about HP.

Most of today's canon literature comes from the Elizabethan/Victorian/modern era.

Yes, in that light, the HP series is not literature.

It is still a post-modern work in that it takes what is essentially old-world magical sentiment and ties it in with urbanite-philosophy.

This doesn't make it as post-modern a work as something written by a Pynchon/Gaiman/Gibson or whoever else.

So the real question, as raised by others already, is what actually counts as literature?

Is it Shakespeare/Chaucer?

is it Dickens/melville/hawthorne/austen?

is it sartre/camus/

is it pynchon/greene/

is it gaiman/stephenson/rowling/king?

Throw this question at your teacher. It's a very crazy change-up pitch that should at least challenge their preconceptions even if it does not change them.

message 12: by Jane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:56PM) (new)

Jane For great children's lit look at Laura Ingalls Wilder, who is considered one of the best. JK Rowling followed the same model. The first books of the Little House books are VERY simple. They are written age appropriately to life of the MAIN character. The books reflect the development of language and the life growth and understanding as the main characters language and life growth broadens.

Unlike the Little House books, which are autobiographical fiction (terminology which James Frey needed to learn before A Million Little Pieces) JK Rowling's story is pure fiction, concieved to cover a specific seven year period of time. I think part of her brillance is that not only did she adapt each book to HARRY's life experience - the books are age appropriate to HIS life, but the entire arc of the story was obviously fully prepared before putting pencil to paper for the first book.

When going back and re-reading the 7 books as a whole it is apparent that things were foreshadowed very early on echoed throughout the series and which had great import to the final book. That is a sign of great literature. So many authors create a character and just prep one or two books - just in case they don't sell. Rowling did not. Her concept was intact from the get go and she should be applauded for that alone.

Again, the reality of this as "real" literature (although it's not tecnically "literary" in style) is discovered in reading ALL the books as a whole work, not in their individuality.

Incidentally, JRR Tolkein's concept for The Lord of the Rings was to write a long, sustained story. It was the publisher who broke it into three pieces because it was believed that the public was not interested in reading something so voluminous. Harry Potter is clearly broken into 7 pieces for his school years. Rowling obivously thought this choice out - she could have done the entire story in one volumn, but it would have robbed her and her readers of so much.

All good writers deserve a lot of credit for the hard work of prepping a story and making tough decisions about how it is to be presented. She talks about it coming to her in a dream - the dream was the inspiration. The books were her sweat and tears.

message 13: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) Here's a queston to think about? If Harry Potter was such bad "literature", why did it sell so well? And why did it get made into movies that made such large profits in the first week? Hmmm?

message 14: by Susan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Susan (bookishtype202) It's interesting to consider Shakespeare. If you think about it, you'd be hard-pressed to find many people who don't consider Shakespeare as the real deal, quality literature, etc. but Shakespeare borrowed and stole more than anyone and in his time going to the theatre was kind of considered low-brow entertainment. I'm an enormous fan, I'm not knocking him or his work, but I'm just saying--it's interesting what time will do.

message 15: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) Susan,

how does this relate to the fact that some people consider Harry Potter to be not good literature? Not being mean or anything, just trying to understand your point of view on this subject.

message 16: by Rachel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Rachel ashley, i think susan's point is that there is a LOT of literature that was unaccepted by serious, "educated" critics that later became known as a classic. some people in shakespeare's time thought his work immature. similarly, many adult readers and intellectuals see "harry potter" as kids stuff, but it will be interesting to see what those types think of it in fifty to sixty years. will j.k. rowling be the next shakespeare?

in response to your point that "harry potter" must be good literature because it sells well and made blockbuster movies, "the davinci code" also sold well and "titanic" was a huge blockbuster. the average reader or movie-goer, however, will tell you neither of these were worth their hype. there are a lot of really bad books that sell well and a lot of really bad movies that make lots of money. "harry potter" is good literature for much bigger reasons than those.

message 17: by Amy Marie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Amy Marie (amy_marie97) | 26 comments Consider this: when Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" fist came out, it was considered a waste of paper, and very offensive.

And now, it is the first and greatest American novel - required for High School Reading. In five to ten years, Harry Potter will be the top of Elementary school reading for simple 'literature understanding' and High School reading for symbol analysis and the clever use of language,syntax, imagery, diction, and details. (DIDLS for some HS people)

message 18: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) thank you for clearing that up for me Rachel

message 19: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Meghan | 686 comments You know, I think it does depend on the genre that you prefer.
Amy-Let's just hope nobody every thinks that Harry Potter is a waste of paper! :)

message 20: by Peng (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Peng | 317 comments it never was. anyone who would open it's pages and read it would just go on and on and on and on and........

message 21: by Arun (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:58PM) (new)

Arun K being literature has no standing on what becomes a best selling book or movie.

the da vinci code is not literature. it isn't even well written or thought-out. it has sold quite a few books. it became a semi successful movie. money does not literature make.

I'm not saying the same goes for rowling but your logic is wrong.

message 22: by Dayna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:58PM) (new)

Dayna | 8 comments A lot of books are enjoyable to read that are not considered great literature, in some cases for good reason. Here's something a lit prof. once told me, "Great literature is how YOU define it." Just because some critic or teacher obsessed with stodgy literary analysis says that HP is not great literature does not mean that it isn't, because to millions of readers it is. It doesn't matter if it's made billions of dollars or been made into movies ... the majority of the READERS consider it great literature and that is what matters.

By the way, I like the comparison that Susan made to Shakespeare. It's true. I think that with time more and more critics will come to consider HP great lit. Especially since, as Jane already pointed out, now that the whole series is out you can really see the scope and detail of the story as a whole, with the foreshadowing, etc.

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

My teacher LOVES HP, and I do too! He doesn't care WHAT we read, it's just that we read something. He also likes Percy Jackson, and Among the Hidden. He really tries to help us pick out books that we would like. And the best part is that in his classroom he has 2 bookshelfs!

message 24: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay As a writer, I hate it when people say Harry Potter isn't well written. I love Rowling's style and I've studied it to get tips for my own writing. She can easily turn drama into humor and her characters are so original and lovable! You don't have to fill your books with millions of unrecognizable words for it to be well written. Writing is also about characters, plot dialogue, ect.

message 25: by Miss Ryoko (new)

Miss Ryoko (missryoko) Amen Lindsay!!!

message 26: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 09, 2010 08:44AM) (new)

Ella wrote: "My teacher LOVES HP, and I do too! He doesn't care WHAT we read, it's just that we read something. He also likes Percy Jackson, and Among the Hidden. He really tries to help us pick out books that ..."

Same! Here! Go dude teachers!!!!!

message 27: by Jamie (new)

Jamie  (jaymers8413) I do not think Harry Potter is bad literature because it is written for children and young adults. She was not trying to write a War and Peace. Her plot is very well thought out from the first book to the last, intertwining things from one book to another. Like how Ron's rat was really not a rat but Pettigrew.

message 28: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay ~*Lady Ryoko*~ (Teresa) wrote: "Amen Lindsay!!!"

haha :D

message 29: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay And how the diary was a horcrux! I love the second book plot; everything is so clever.

message 30: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 17 comments why would they say it is bad literature? yes, it's unusual but it's fantasy! thats's how it is supposed to be! and in my opinion, Rowling is an AMAZING author!! i think that the books are written IMMENSELY well!! :)

message 31: by ★ Jess (new)

★ Jess Cindy wrote: "I am a teacher and I get so angry to hear this. You are reading something that interests you and it is good literature. There are themes in these stories that resonate with you in your every day ..."

Cindy, i 100% totally and utterly agree!
I think that this persons teachers are stupid.

message 32: by Abi (new)

Abi Lou | 184 comments it's better than Twilight. I guess that's not saying much, though.

message 33: by ★ Jess (new)

★ Jess Twilight is actually really good.
just not the movies.

message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Abi wrote: "it's better than Twilight. I guess that's not saying much, though."

Yea, I mean, at least in Harry Potter you don't watch people sleep... Or was that not included in the details.... Hmmmmm... :|

message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

Not that I have anything against Twilight, I'm not going to say I hate something I haven't read.

I'm just saying that the plot in Twilight doesn't seem as appealing as it is in Harry Potter. But then again, some people may actually like the whole vampire and watching people sleep part. :)

message 36: by Abi (new)

Abi Lou | 184 comments hehe. Yeah, I'm not a big fan of Twilight. Rubbish book, if you ask me. Still, at least it got people reading again, even if it isn't good or challenging...

message 37: by Taranpreet (new)

Taranpreet (tkaur21) | 30 comments im sorry but twilight is so annoying now..ever since the movie came out, ive hated it..i could say a lot more but i wont cuz this message would be really long..

message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Why does it matter if it's "good literature" if it's a good book?

message 39: by Abi (new)

Abi Lou | 184 comments what's the difference? In my opinion, a good book is something that you respect, and I wouldn't wipe my bum with Twilight...

message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

*High fives Abi!*

message 41: by Taranpreet (new)

Taranpreet (tkaur21) | 30 comments well..im not a big fan of twilight but i wouldnt wipe my bum with it...its not fav book anymore so yeah..

message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

Can you guys stop about Twilight?! I understand that you don't like it, and I don't either, but I don't go around saying nasty things about it!!!!!!! I mean, we don't want to be like the Harry Potter Haters, RIGHT?! They haven't read the books, some of them have, and they go around, joining club that talk about how much they hate it.

message 43: by Abi (last edited Mar 19, 2010 11:21AM) (new)

Abi Lou | 184 comments haha, well that's their perogative. They probably all read Twilight instead and can't even spell "Potter".
Just saying, that's what Twilight does to your brain cells. Sorry, Ella, that was my last insult on here. I promise.

message 44: by Taranpreet (new)

Taranpreet (tkaur21) | 30 comments ok i'm sorry ella for saying all that stuff...so let's start a new conversation..what is your favorite harry potter book and why???

message 45: by Annie (new)

Annie (AnnieIsCool13) Its hard to decide between the 6th and the 4th. I didnt really like the 7th and 5th books.

message 46: by Taranpreet (new)

Taranpreet (tkaur21) | 30 comments oh..i liked the 7th one..i thought it was great!..the 4th and 6th were really good too..

message 47: by Annie (new)

Annie (AnnieIsCool13) Now that I think about it I guess I kinda like it but not a lot.

message 48: by Emily (new)

Emily My favourite was probably prisoner of Akzaban and Deathly hallows

message 49: by Taranpreet (new)

Taranpreet (tkaur21) | 30 comments yeah..the third was okay..

message 50: by Brianne (new)

Brianne (iliketoreadbooks) | 242 comments i skipped the first three, and started with goblet of fire.

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