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An Analysis on Harry Potter’s Textual World:from the Perspective of Tolkien’s Theory on Fairy Stories

Author WangLi
Tutor HaoLin
School Shanxi University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Harry Potter textual world Tolkien fairy stories
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
Downloads 212
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Harry Potter is a series of seven books written by British writer J.K.Rowling. The series describes the adventure of a wizard Harry Potter, and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story concerns Harry’s quest to overcome the Dark Wizard Lord Voldemort, whose aims are to become immortal and conquer the whole world.Harry Potter series, taking children as their protagonists, has received favors from worldwide children as well as adults. The series has been translated into67languages and achieved a huge commercial success, making it the best-selling book series in history. One important reason for its popularity lies in the successful construction of the textual world. According to J.R.R.Tolkien’s theory on fairy stories, Rowling is proved a successful "sub-creator", who creates an attractive Secondary World. This world is full of magical things and meanwhile includes real cultural elements. The Secondary World coexists with Primary World in Harry Potter series. Common people and magical beings inhabit the same space. And Rowling attempts many writing skills to make her textual world credible. When reading this imaginary story, readers are willing to believe it and put themselves into the story. They are easily fascinated by the story, then get rid of pressure and get into a fantastic world with truth and implied meanings. During the course of reading, readers could obtain the new enlightenment of life.The thesis tries to discuss Harry Potter’s textual world in terms of Tolkien’s aesthetics of fairy stories, which is very influential in the research of fairy tales. Through the analysis, we could learn the special charm of Harry Potter’s textual world and then understand the reason why the series is so successful. The thesis is divided into six parts. The first chapter introduces J.K.Rowling and Harry Potter Series. The second chapter introduces Tolkien and his theory on fairy stories. The third chapter analyzes the construction elements of Harry Potter’s textual world. Harry Potter’s textual world is constituted by the Primary World and the Secondary World. Different characteristics of these two worlds are clearly shown through the studies of them. The forth chapter discusses the presentation modes of Harry Potter’s textual world. Tolkien thinks the magic or the art of a fairy story will fail if readers disbelieve the Secondary World. So Rowling uses many skills to make her textual world more credible. The fifth chapter studies the significance of Harry Potter’s textual world. Tolkien believes fairy stories offer fantasy, recovery, escape and consolation. Harry Potter possesses these values and has a positive influence on children’s growth. The last chapter concludes the discussion of the thesis and gives suggestions for future studies.

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