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Re: [mythsoc] Harry Potter, an 11 year old view

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  • Ted Sherman
    And we re supposed to believe the writing below is that of an American 11-year old. I have 21-year olds who don t write half as well in my college (and
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
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      And we're supposed to believe the writing below is that of an American 11-year old.
      I have 21-year olds who don't write half as well in my college (and graduate!)
      courses!

      Ted

      Stolzi@... wrote:

      > Summer Reading: Harry Potter
      >
      > By Elizabeth and Michael Foss
      > HERALD Columnist
      >
      > In light of the recent Harry Potter craze, my 11-year-old and I decided to
      > do a little critical reading together. We read the first book in the series
      > and
      > I asked Michael to write a review. Here, he shares his opinions and a
      > suggestion, too:
      >
      > My experience with Harry Potter was very decisive to say the least. It took
      > me just one book to decide not to read the rest of the series.
      > Eleven-year-old Harry Potter lives with the Dursleys, his aunt and uncle,
      > and their spoiled son, Dudley. The Dursleys despise Harry for coming into
      > their
      > lives as an infant in a basket on their front porch. Mrs. Dursley’s sister,
      > Harry’s mother, died alongside her husband. They were both wizards. The evil
      > Lord Voldermort came to the Potter household when Harry was one to try to
      > bring the Potters to the dark side. When the Potters refused, he killed the
      > couple but Harry was too powerful for the lord and only was scarred.
      >
      > The boy grows up thinking his parents died in a car accident. On Harry’s
      > birthday, a mysterious letter comes in the mail from a school that teaches
      > boys and girls to become witches and wizards. On the day it’s time to leave
      > for the school, Hogwarts, the real adventure begins. Harry learns to make
      > potions, how to transfigure rats into hairpins and other useful things.
      >
      > The book consistently stumbles on the topic of right and wrong. For example:
      > Harry and his classmates are learning how to fly on broomsticks when the
      > teacher is called away for a while. She tells the students to stay put and
      > not to fly! Well, the school bully, Draco Malfoy, decides to pick on one of
      > the students by picking up the boy’s broomstick and flying off. Harry Potter
      > flies after Malfoy and just as Harry zooms up, the culprit goes down. The
      > teacher catches Harry up in the air and she pretends to scold him in front
      > of the class but then commends him for his flying ability behind closed doors.
      > These kinds of mixed-message incidents happen throughout the book.
      >
      > The book takes a very sinister, troublesome spin when Harry comes face to
      > face with Voldermort. When the dark lord failed to kill Harry, he lost all
      > his power. So he looks over the world trying to find someone to possess.
      > With the body of a man in his control, Voldermort attacks Harry. The boy is so
      > strong Voldermort’s hands blister and burn when he touches Potter. The power
      > is so great the body perishes but the dark lord filters into the air to find
      > another victim.
      >
      > The book’s satanic references were very disturbing as can be imagined. I
      > don’t think it’s appropriate for little kids. The author also portrays the
      > muggles (non-magic folk) to be idiotic bumblers that have no clue about
      > anything. The children in this book as well as the adults are very
      > disrespectful. There is a lot of lying and cheating by both adults and
      > children that goes unpunished. Many controversial things in the text were not
      > needed, and they did not add any glory to this book. It was very
      > disappointing.
      >
      > A friend of my mom’s told me that in the second book, Harry and his friends
      > bury a screaming mandrake root. The more the root screams, the more dirt
      > they dump on it. A mandrake root looks like a baby. In case the reader didn’t
      > know
      > that, there is a picture of it at the beginning of the chapter. I wonder why
      > the author picked a root that looks like a baby to bury. [Mom’s note: our
      > dictionary says that the root of a mandrake has been traditionally used to
      > promote conception. Why did she choose a mandrake?] The author says that in
      > the fourth book Harry’s hormones are supposed to kick in. I don’t even want
      > to know what that’s supposed to mean.
      >
      > [as those of us who've read it know, it doesn't mean an awful lot - though I
      > was worried too. - ms]
      >
      > Instead of Harry Potter, I recommend the Redwall series of books by English
      > author, Brian Jacques. The books are about abbey mice who live around the
      > medieval time. The mice live in a great sandstone abbey. The hero of the
      > books is Martin the warrior (a mouse featured in all the books). Martin
      > defends Redwall Abbey from villainous ferrets, weasels, stoats, foxes, and
      > rats. The warrior mouse appears alive in four books, and comes to new
      > champions of Redwall as a guide in dreams (much like Obi-Wan Kenobi in the
      > Star Wars films).
      >
      > The book has a very distinctive feeling of good and evil. The good abbey
      > mice and their colleagues, portrayed by otters, moles, hares, hedgehogs,
      > badgers,
      > and squirrels, are exposed to many evils but always persevere through it
      > all, never once dropping to evil's level. The books usually have very fierce
      > battles that are described very graphically. The battles are very gory, and
      > always the mice try to stop bloodshed from happening but once they are
      > threatened to the point where combat is the only option, they fight. Always,
      > mind you, the mice learn from the experience of war. The mice lose many
      > friends and family during the wars but at the end of the book they always
      > start to rebuild.
      >
      > The books have very rich literary style and are very entertaining for kids
      > and adults. The language really improves your grammar immensely.
      >
      >
      >
      > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org

      --
      Dr. Theodore James Sherman, Editor
      Mythlore: A Journal of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams and
      Mythopoeic Literature
      Box X041, Department of English
      Middle Tennessee State University
      Murfreesboro, TN 37132
      615 898-5836; FAX 615 898-5098
      tsherman@...
      tedsherman@...
    • Juliet Blosser
      ... Given that the boy s mother is a writer, I think we can assume that he both got some writing talent in the genes, and has been taught well at home. Those
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
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        On Wed, Aug 02, 2000 at 02:20:35PM -0500, Ted Sherman wrote:
        > And we're supposed to believe the writing below is that of an American 11-year old.
        > I have 21-year olds who don't write half as well in my college (and graduate!)
        > courses!
        >
        > Ted
        >
        Given that the boy's mother is a writer, I think we can assume that he
        both got some writing talent in the genes, and has been taught well at
        home. Those two things can make all the difference in the world.
      • Matthew Winslow
        ... The kid has a good editor? -- Matthew Winslow mwinslow@firinn.org http://x-real.firinn.org/ Books are my passion, not only writing them and every once in
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
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          Ted Sherman [tedsherman@...] wrote:
          > And we're supposed to believe the writing below is that of an American 11-year old.
          > I have 21-year olds who don't write half as well in my college (and graduate!)
          > courses!

          The kid has a good editor?

          --
          Matthew Winslow mwinslow@... http://x-real.firinn.org/
          "Books are my passion, not only writing them and every once in a while even
          reading them but just having them and moving them around and feeling the
          comfort of their serene presence."
          --Fred Buechner
          Currently reading: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
        • Ted Sherman
          Well, that might be, but I must quibble: writing isn t in the genes. It s in the work. It does help if one was raised in an environment that cherished reading
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
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            Well, that might be, but I must quibble: writing isn't in the genes. It's in the work. It
            does help if one was raised in an environment that cherished reading (and writing).

            As to the content--it seems to me that the readers begin with a preconception and then
            their reading validated and supported that preconception. In other words, they found what
            they were looking for: moral relativism (ambiguous portrayals of good and evil) and all
            that. Unfortunately, the readers did not allow the author the courtesy to tell her story
            the way she wanted to without trying to force their beliefs on the world the author
            constructed. In other words, they never allowed the author the opportunity to work her
            enchantment (the elvish craft) and produce secondary belief.

            Ted

            Juliet Blosser wrote:

            > On Wed, Aug 02, 2000 at 02:20:35PM -0500, Ted Sherman wrote:
            > > And we're supposed to believe the writing below is that of an American 11-year old.
            > > I have 21-year olds who don't write half as well in my college (and graduate!)
            > > courses!
            > >
            > > Ted
            > >
            > Given that the boy's mother is a writer, I think we can assume that he
            > both got some writing talent in the genes, and has been taught well at
            > home. Those two things can make all the difference in the world.
            >
            >
            >
            > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org

            --
            Dr. Theodore James Sherman, Editor
            Mythlore: A Journal of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams and Mythopoeic
            Literature
            Box X041, Department of English
            Middle Tennessee State University
            Murfreesboro, TN 37132
            615 898-5836; FAX 615 898-5098
            tsherman@...
            tedsherman@...
          • David S. Bratman
            I was writing pretty much like that when I was 11. And that s not boasting: I m sure most of us here were. I don t think there s anything wrong with objecting
            Message 5 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
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              I was writing pretty much like that when I was 11. And that's not
              boasting: I'm sure most of us here were.

              I don't think there's anything wrong with objecting to mixed moral
              messages and squeamy situations. The kid has a point. I followed him
              right up until he recommended Redwall. Oh well, nobody's perfect.

              David Bratman
            • Steve Schaper
              ... Musta been home-schooled. Or born on a leap-day ;-) ==================================== sschaper@uswest.net members.delphi.com/sschaper/web/sschaper.html
              Message 6 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
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                At 2:20 PM -0500 8/2/00, Ted Sherman wrote:
                >And we're supposed to believe the writing below is that of an
                >American 11-year old.
                >I have 21-year olds who don't write half as well in my college (and graduate!)
                >courses!
                >
                >Ted


                Musta been home-schooled.

                Or born on a leap-day ;-)

                ====================================

                sschaper@...
                members.delphi.com/sschaper/web/sschaper.html
                ====================================
              • Christine Howlett
                From the vantage point of 40+ years, the mixed messages really did not bother me. The people seemed quite real, as versus cardboard saints. The villains
                Message 7 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
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                  From the vantage point of 40+ years, the 'mixed messages' really did not
                  bother me. The people seemed quite real, as versus cardboard saints. The
                  villains are less mixed - it's hard to find a redeeming trait in most of
                  them, though I notice the 4th book has a 'villain' who is simply weak and
                  willing to delude himself (that's not a spoiler, is it?). My roommate says
                  11 is appropriate to object to mixed good-bad types. I think an 11 year old
                  must have met some pretty mixed types already. Like his parents, his
                  siblings, his neighbors, his teachers, etc. etc. Humanity being a pretty
                  mixed lot. Oh well, different countries heard from.
                  Christine

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: David S. Bratman <dbratman@...>
                  To: mythsoc@egroups.com <mythsoc@egroups.com>
                  Date: Wednesday, August 02, 2000 3:48 PM
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Harry Potter, an 11 year old view


                  >I was writing pretty much like that when I was 11. And that's not
                  >boasting: I'm sure most of us here were.
                  >
                  >I don't think there's anything wrong with objecting to mixed moral
                  >messages and squeamy situations. The kid has a point. I followed him
                  >right up until he recommended Redwall. Oh well, nobody's perfect.
                  >
                  >David Bratman
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                  >
                • David S. Bratman
                  There s a difference between mixed good/bad people and mixed moral messages. _The Lord of the Rings_, for instance, has the former but not the latter. Good
                  Message 8 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
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                    There's a difference between mixed good/bad people and mixed moral
                    messages. _The Lord of the Rings_, for instance, has the former but not
                    the latter. "Good and evil have not changed since yesterday," Aragorn
                    says (approx. quote), "nor are they one thing among elves and dwarves and
                    another among men."

                    I've also seen a lot of fantasies that seem to have mixed moral messages
                    but black-and-white characters.

                    IMHO, it is more important for authors to show that their characters are
                    human, with flaws and less-than-pure desires and impulses, than to show
                    their postmodern (or whatever) sensibility by demonstrating that good and
                    bad are not absolute. At least for some readers, Tolkien and Lewis are
                    demonstrations that you can have absolute black-and-white moral messages
                    without rigid situations or cardboard characters.

                    David Bratman
                  • Mary Kay Kare
                    ... You think there are Satanic references in Harry Potter? That s what he said. MKK
                    Message 9 of 12 , Aug 4, 2000
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                      "David S. Bratman" wrote:
                      >
                      > I was writing pretty much like that when I was 11. And that's not
                      > boasting: I'm sure most of us here were.
                      >
                      > I don't think there's anything wrong with objecting to mixed moral
                      > messages and squeamy situations. The kid has a point. I followed him
                      > right up until he recommended Redwall. Oh well, nobody's perfect.
                      >
                      You think there are Satanic references in Harry Potter? That's what
                      he said.

                      MKK
                    • WendellWag@aol.com
                      In a message dated 8/4/00 1:10:08 PM Eastern Daylight Time, kare@sirius.com writes: Yeah, there
                      Message 10 of 12 , Aug 5, 2000
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                        In a message dated 8/4/00 1:10:08 PM Eastern Daylight Time, kare@...
                        writes:

                        << You think there are Satanic references in Harry Potter? >>

                        Yeah, there are, but you got to look for them in the same way that people
                        look for messages in rock music. Look at the sixth sentence of the sixth
                        paragraph of the sixth chapter of the first book. (666 - get it?) Reading
                        backward from the end of the sentence and taking every sixth letter, you get
                        "All power to our Lord Satan. Sacrifice our parents on his altar." Using
                        techniques like this on other sections of the Harry Potter books, I've also
                        found "Paul is dead," "Turn me on, dead man," "I buried Paul," "Kilroy was
                        here," "Whazzup?," "Louie, Louie, me gotta go," "Who is Keyser Sose?," and
                        "Toynbee ideas in Kubrick's 2001, resurrect dead on planet Jupiter."

                        Am I the only one who's noticed this?

                        Wendell Wagner
                      • Stolzi@aol.com
                        In a message dated 8/5/00 12:07:43 PM Central Daylight Time, ... Why not the sixth book?
                        Message 11 of 12 , Aug 5, 2000
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                          In a message dated 8/5/00 12:07:43 PM Central Daylight Time,
                          WendellWag@... writes:

                          > Look at the sixth sentence of the sixth
                          > paragraph of the sixth chapter of the first book. (666 - get it?)

                          Why not the sixth book?
                        • WendellWag@aol.com
                          Well, we haven t seen the sixth book yet. Perhaps the *real* meaning will be revealed there.
                          Message 12 of 12 , Aug 5, 2000
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                            Well, we haven't seen the sixth book yet. Perhaps the *real* meaning will be
                            revealed there.
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