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Man vs beast the human-animal boundary in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series

By Jessica Auz

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Abstract

In her series of seven novels, Rowling constructs a society and a framework of characterization that allows her to explore the human-animal boundary in a variety of ways. She connects her novels to the ideology of the classical and medieval periods while still acknowledging the ways that the relationship between humans and animals has changed over the years by showcasing the influence of modern popular culture on her characterization of the human-animal boundary. Through her descriptions of werewolves, Patronuses, Animagi, and Harry Potter's and Lord Voldemort's abilities to speak Parseltongue, Rowling uses classical, medieval, and modern animal symbolism to showcase her characters' personalities. These human-animal frameworks associate particular imagery with each character, and this imagery highlights the core of the character. By using this symbolism to showcase her characters' deepest characteristics, Rowling also delineates her heroes and villains through their relationships with the boundary between humans and animals. This thesis analyzes the ways that Rowling's fusion of classical, medieval, and modern animal symbolism contributes to Rowling's characterization of heroes and villains throughout the series. By examining the instances where characters engage the human-animal boundary, this thesis constructs an argument that highlights the fluidity of the human-animal boundary through examples from the series and analysis of Rowling's characters.

Submitter

Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Pages 72
Department English
Degree Bachelor of Arts
URL https://stars.library.ucf.edu/honorstheses1990-2015/1108/
University University of Central Florida
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Jessica Auz (2018), "Man vs beast the human-animal boundary in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series," http://habricentral.org/resources/64344.

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Tags
  1. Animals in culture
  2. Animals in literature.
  3. Boundaries
  4. Literature
  5. open access
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  1. open access