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Binary Opposition in Harry Potter

Author ZhanXiaoWei
Tutor ZhangYing
School Northeast Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Rowling Harry Potter Binary Opposition
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
Downloads 236
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Seven books of Harry Potter series have been published since 1997. It was popular with the world, and loved by all the children in the world. Since the release of the Harry Potter series, they have been at the center of controversy. In this thesis, it will discuss binary opposition in these novels.In the introduction part, this thesis introduces the author Rowling’s life, literary review about Harry Potter series and the theory of binary opposition.In the first chapter, it concerns binary opposition in the theme of the novel. The binary oppositions of good and evil, subversion and tradition, seeking and losing, and ideal world and real World. Each of the former one in the oppositions is the privileged one over the other. A traditional binary opposite is good and evil. Harry is portrayed as the representative of good, whereas his archenemy, Voldemort, represents the force of evil. In every person’s mind, there are evil ideas. One has to consider how to overcome it.This is the difficulty that the youth will face. In Rowling’s novel, Tradition means pure-blood in the magic world, and the traditional image in the western world. Subversion means changing the image of the pure-blood and the subversion to the traditional image. The youth face the choices and have to consider how to overcome the desire and what to seek. Rowling gives her opinions in her works. Harry lost the hope for her parent’s rebirth to seek the peace of the magic world, he got the eternal life at last:Voldemort sought the eternal life, but lost the entire soul. He died at the end of the novel. Rowling has deliberately juxtaposed the two worlds,the ideal world and real world to create her characters and her plot.In the second chapter, it concerns binary opposition in the characterization of the novel. It concludes friendship and loneliness, the weak and the strong, truth and lies, poverty and wealth. Rowling has naturally applied binary oppositions in the creation of characters, such as Harry, Ron, Hermione,Voldemort and Longbottom.In the third chapter, it talks about reasons for binary opposition in Rowling’s View. Binary oppositions exist everywhere. Rowling’s life is full of binary oppositions. Dialectical relationship between two aspects of the binary opposition can change; two aspects of it can also conclude each other. We can know about it from Rowling’s life experience.In the conclusion part, After analyzing the themes, characters and the writer’s ideas of binary opposition by use of the theory of binary opposition, the thesis concludes that young adults are always facing with difficulties during the process of growing up. The idea of binary opposition to deal with problems can help them make right choices, overcome themselves and become more mature.They should follow the positive side of the binary opposition.

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