Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Fantastic Beasts or Beings, and Why Define Them? Examining Racial Ideology towards Magical Creatures and Social Hierarchies within J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series
by Trosclair, Lauren Elizabeth, M.A., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2018, 110; 10843477
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis brings Victorian social and literary mores to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and then argues how these Victorian ideals are shattered within the series in order to educate the readership about social and racial prejudice. To do this, the argument first focuses on distinguishing the social hierarchies that are established within the series and then works to examine the representation of specific magical creatures in the magical world in relation to the definition of Being and Beast. Rubeus Hagrid (a half-giant), Firenze (a centaur), and Remus Lupin (a werewolf) are specifically focused on within the chapters because of how they have a liminal status established through their professions as teachers (Being) and through their creature-status (Beast). Each of their representations in the novels can be argued to mimic the Victorian savage stereotypes found within the literature; however, Rowling establishes a space for each of these “Beasts” to vocalize the prejudice and discrimination they face within the magical world. Their vocalizations and authority are what allow for the Victorian ideals to be broken in order to educate the readership on new perspectives and learn that there is more than one story that a society wants to project onto its peoples.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Geer, Jennifer
Commitee: David-McElligatt, Joanna, Wu, Yung-Hsing
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: MAI 58/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: British and Irish literature
Keywords: Harry Potter, Racism, Rowling, J.K., Social hierarchies, Victorian literature
Publication Number: 10843477
ISBN: 978-1-392-04170-3
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