Thursday, March 29, 2007

Harry Potter Revealed and Sure to Be Challenged

It will come as no surprise to anyone who follows the censors, when (not if) J. K. Rowling's last Harry Potter book is challenged in schools. But before that happens following the July 21, 2007 release, here is a look at the U.K. and American versions of the cover for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

According to an article by Margaret Rees from the World Socialist Web Site dated from 2000,
The reason for the challenges to the Harry Potter books centre round their focus on wizardry and magic. Fundamentalist Christians claim the series is subversive, because wizardry is incompatible with Christian belief. According to them, it is presenting witchcraft in an attractive light and desensitising young people to its dangers. They are hostile because in their opinion Rowling has a false world view, that is, she does not write from the standpoint of Christian ethics.

In a highly publicized case, Laura Mallory began a crusade in November 2005 to have Harry Potter books removed from Gwinnett Public Schools in Georgia. She lost an appeal with the Georgia State Board of Education, in 2006, to have the books banned from the schools.

There is an interesting German article about Harry Potter books that explains how the books were removed from the curriculum of a state-run school. Julia Bonk, the education-policy spokeswoman in the legislature's Left party parliamentary group criticized the school's action,
(By acquiescing to the request,) the school director is essentially inviting religious fundamentalists to interfere with the educational and academic goals of state-funded schools, according to their discretion. The lesson plans of state-funded schools should not be subject to approval by people who hold all possible religious convictions.


Jim Jordan said...

The magic is just the window dressing. If you look at the morality play going on in Potter, there are many lessons to teach. There's even an unauthorized version called "The Gospel According to Harry Potter". Christians who don't look beneath the surface of a book before banning it are probably not going to look too deeply into their own Book.
My only question is if every kid owns Harry Potter books, why do we need to spend taxpayer's money to buy them another copy. I say by all means use Harry Potter books in Reading class, but kill two birds with one stone and save a few bucks. Tell the kids BYOB.
Informative post. Thanks.

fahrenheit451moderator said...

I agree with you about the morality play being below the surface of this tale. The same goes for many books that are challenged: Lowry's The Giver, L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (which challenged me to see God and the universe with new eyes as I read it as an adult), Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia, and so many more. When you break any book down into its rawest form, couldn't you say it is about the struggle between good and evil and where humans draw the line?

Good observation about having the kids bring their own books. The German story made it sound like it was a class text and that all of the children were reading it.