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Gender roles form an integral part of the cultural fabric. In each family, gender roles have to be defined. Men and women have different roles. Gender roles are inherent from one generation to another. Moreover, they structure social relations and provide the changes in such roles depending on the trend in the society. Rowling presents the Harry’s world that is filled by fantasies and magical creatures. These are mainly the wicked wizards. She also uses several well developed characters including men and women.
The book depicts Hermione as the successful witch. She is courageous and highly principled. She takes matters very seriously and is deeply empathetic in supporting other characters. She is also humorous and fears any possibility of failure. She is clever as she is labeled “a know it all” in her young age. Indeed, the writer states that other characters were intimidated by her level of intellect. The writer depicts Hermione as a true feminist. She has the ability to influence other people around her. She pushes them to rise and fight against inequality that is deeply seeded (Heilman, 2008). She believed that the societal members were unprivileged. Indeed, in the fifth series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, develop an idea where he is able to influence other members to form a wizard movement in order to resist what they termed as Dumbledore’s Army.
Previously in the fourth book, Hermione defends the enslavement of her fellow members of the house of elves. She moves a step head to establish a student organization whose main role is to demand freedom as well as fair payment to the elves. She is worried by the magnitude of cruelty that the house of elves is going through. After the formation of the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (SPEW), Elves begin to enjoy some rights (Agarwal, 2005). Therefore, the director uses Hermione as an example of female characters that play positive roles in the society. She is able to fight for the rights of other people. She does not wait until men take the initiative. She feels sufficient with her level of knowledge that she can make it and influence the society to take into consideration their brothers who are going through the hard times in slavery.
Rowling uses Hermione to show the presence of stereotypes in the novel. Although she does not end up being a hero, Harry uses her as a pivot character. While in school, her character is also unique. For example, she prefers arithmetic more that divination (Mulholland, 2007). However, she spreads lies about her ability to change her status as the famous wizards in the area. In the first three books, Hermione plays critical roles. She is depicted as being wise as she meets her future friends Harry and Ron. Her knowledge makes her companions regularly angry. This makes her companions think that she is arrogant. Therefore, they develop a dislike for her until they are forced to rescue her from a troll. She is very grateful for their help and even uses any means such as lies in order to protect them from any harm. This marks the beginning of great friendship between the three.
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In the fifth and sixth book, Hermione’s roles are also highly pronounced. At this time, the friendship between Ron and Hermione had grown. Harry notes that. “They spent much of their time bickering, likely due to their growing romantic feelings toward one another”. Harry Potter depicts a world where women have to fight for their rights. Women have no rank. The writer states that they find themselves outranked and outnumbered. Although there are women with power such as Bellatrix Lestrange or Dolores Umbridge, they are compelled to work with the structure that places the rights of men first. The power structures are set in a way that they ensure that values and needs of men are given preference.
Narcissa is able to defy the order by Voldemorts and Death Eaters. She is able to rise from the dark and holds power in the male dominated world. In the Order of the Phoenix, women are able to make their independent decisions, as well as carryout serious assignments without the counsel of men. For instance, professor McGonagall has a significant influence on the affairs of students at Hogwarts (Agarwal, 2005). She is able to defeat great men like Voldemort as they try to underestimate the power of mother to her own child. This shows the influence of women on their children. Women are portrayed as having the capacity to make informed choices in their lives.
The depiction of women in the novel provides one of the major critics. Women are seen as inferior beings who cannot take the leading role in the society. They have to be led by men. Many scholars criticize this conservative trend in the novel. Critics of Harry Potter mainly focus on how men and women in the book are portrayed. Notably, the men are depicted as being more adventurous and aggressive (Mulholland, 2007). Men take the leadership roles because they are self confident. Moreover, men are the sole bread winners in many families as portrayed in the movie. They are also able to take risks in order to be successful.
On the other hand, most of the women are passive and afraid. They are self conscious about their looks in order to please men. Moreover, they are entitled in maintaining households. This makes them act in support of their men in leadership positions. Instead of venturing and taking risks, they are required to console and comfort their men. It is worth to note that in Harry Potter world there are no formal rules that depict women as inferior to men. Women are not kept in a subordinate position by any rules. This is the same case where there are no formal rules that force blacks to take inferior roles that of the whites (Anatol, 2003). Thus, it is clear that blacks and whites are not equal. This implies that equality means more than the establishment of formal rules and laws.
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Women in the novel possess different characteristics and traits. According to Rowling the ultimate goal of many characters is to achieve peace and equality in the world of wizards. Nonetheless, the representation of female characters critically portrays a different understanding of women. The female characters form two categories, evil and troublesome characters, as well as driven and intelligent characters who are able to carry out important tasks in a world where women do not hold significant positions in the society.
Harry Potter movie sequence has some areas that are controversial. For example, depiction of women, families and gender shows that a situation where the society is very conservative. Moreover, the book promotes themes of witchcraft as well as other forms of immorality. The women are depicted as the main perpetrators of witchcraft. Therefore, a close reading at Harry Potter books reveals that there is a high degree of inequality between men and women (Mulholland, 2007). As it has been stated, they are able to hold only secondary positions of power and authority. Indeed, they are not in charge of their rights among other prevailing conditions.
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Hermione Ganger being the strongest women in the novel is still depicted as a secondary character. However, she is able to stand by herself towards the end of the book. At the beginning, she is depicted as “a frozen and unable to fight a troll which had entered Hogwarts”. At the end, she is even able to fight for the rights of Elves slaves as well as organizing students against Voldemort’s actions.
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