Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling: Literary Analysis

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling: Literary Analysis

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Analysing Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling is an emotion-filled, fantasy novel with the perfect amount of rises and falls that leave you reading so quickly, you can't turn the pages fast enough. It’s about Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts after the rise of Voldemort. Harry struggles this year with multiple things in addition to Voldemort such as; the O.W.L’s and an obstructive Ministry of Magic. Reading this for the first time was a real treat and due to this project, I analyzed it thoroughly. I came up with a theme for this story that almost every human if they're honest, can relate to. We miss things more when they are taken from us. I believe that the personal loss J.K. Rowling was feeling during this time is presented in the book, perhaps unintentionally. While she was writing this book she lost her mother, whom she had a close relationship with. Given this, I believe she used her personal experiences to come up with her solemn theme. Using the plot, point of view, and characterization I will explain how this theme is strongly represented in this book.

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To start, there are many reasons why the plot is a major factor in the theme of this story. Harry is in his fifth year at Hogwarts right after the loss of Cedric, his dear friend, and the rise of Voldemort. While he is grieving the loss of his friend he also has to worry about; when Voldemort will attack, his new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, why he's having so many nightmares, and whether or not he should stop said nightmares. First off, Harry lost his friend, Cedric. While Cedric was alive he and Harry were competitors. They both wanted to win the Goblet of Fire, they both wanted the girl, and they both wanted to prove they were the best wizards at Hogwarts. Then suddenly Cedric dies a horrific death at the hand of the Dark Lord and Harry is struck with grief. Secondly, Harry has to deal with his new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Umbridge. Umbridge is a nasty woman from the Ministry of Magic who is set on making Harry's school experience miserable. Normally, when Harry is away from Hogwarts, he misses it with an intensity nothing can compare to because that's his home! Situations now have changed that. His school life is so miserable we read that he misses his home at Privet Drive, with his Muggle family. Lastly, Harry has to deal with his nightmares and what they mean about the position of Lord Voldemort. In previous books, when Harry was struggling with something he wrote a letter to his godfather, Sirius Black. But, ever since Professor Umbridge, Harry cannot send any letters without them being screened and scrutinized. He is extremely baffled by the dreams and worries about Voldemort, but he can't talk to anyone about it, which makes him miss Sirius even more. In conclusion, in the plot, we see multiple examples of our theme that helps move the story along quite well. Harry misses Cedric because he died, Privet Drive because Hogwarts is a mess, and Sirius because of his neverending worries about Lord Voldemort.

Another angle is the point of view. In this story, the author uses third-person point of view. I believe this helps propel the story along effectively. Third-person point of view allows us to see into Harry's mind and know everything that is happening directly to and around him. What it doesn't allow is the knowledge of other characters. We don't know what's happening in the minds of any character other than Harry and that really builds suspense. If we knew what was happening in the mind of other characters, say Lord Voldemort, some of the events that occurred wouldn't have been a shock and wouldn't have had such a strong emotional reaction. For example, the death of Sirius Black. If we knew that the "vision" of Sirius being tortured by Voldemort was an illusion before Harry, we might have been able to see his death coming and wouldn't have reacted as strongly. Furthermore, if the point of view wasn't the third person, the theme wouldn't apply to us. As a reader, we don't miss Sirius until he dies. When it happens in the story, however, most people cry and immediately begin missing him. As you can see, that is how the point of view relates to the theme.

Finally, the last element I will focus on is characterization. In The Order of the Phoenix, Harry is dramatically different than he is in any story thus far. Because of this, the whole story has a depressing and/or angry feeling about it. He has suffered through so much loss and has an underlying fear that he's about to lose more. In addition to that, he is also feeling helpless. He wants to help the Order of the Phoenix stop Voldemort, but he doesn't know how. He creates his own group of students so he can teach some defensive spells, thinking that this will help his helplessness. It turns out it did help a bit, but with him worrying about getting caught the whole time, it takes away from that feeling. These feelings throughout the story are what help propel it along. Without this, the story would be a whole roller coaster of feelings, leaving the reader feeling dizzy and unsatisfied. All of these emotions Harry is feeling makes the reader tune into the emotions and helps keep them invested in the story effectively. All in all, characterization plays a big part in the continuation of the story.

In conclusion, the plot, point of view, and characterization support the Order of the Phoenix immensely. First, our theme is, we miss things more when they are taken from us. Without the plot showing us multiple examples of it, our theme could have been hard to decipher. Without the third-person point of view our story, the theme wouldn't have applied to the reader because we wouldn't have been affected so strongly. And without the strong use of characterization, we would have been disinterested in the direction of the story. To sum it up, we could use other literary terms to analyze this story. Literary terms like; setting, tone, symbolism, or structure. All of these things would have worked, but I believe that the elements I focused on were the most effective. The Order of the Phoenix is a great example of using literary terms to support the theme and I found it to be quite entertaining to do so.

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