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Solzhenitsyn and RowlingI am continually surprised by Rowling's depth.  Those who...

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 23, 2008 at 7:01 AM via web

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Solzhenitsyn and Rowling

I am continually surprised by Rowling's depth.  Those who write her off as a mere children's author or the Stephen King of YA lit because of her substantial output in the HP series are missing a great deal.

Though I cannot be sure of this connection, it seems plausible to me that Rowling was in part working on a premise proposed by the Nobel Prize winning author Alexander Solzhenitkin. In The Gulag Archipelago Solzenitkin writes:  "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate the from the rest of us and destroy them.  But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.  And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Doesn't this sound like the crisis Harry must face as he searches for the pieces of soul to destroy Voldemort?  Especially since he eventually discovers that Voldemort is part of himself? 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 23, 2008 at 7:14 AM (Answer #2)

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Absolutely!  I love the HP series for this very reason.  There is something for everyone in terms of themes, the psychology of human beings, and moral dilemma.  The team of Harry, Ron, and Hermione is wonderfully charming and they discuss so many issues in depths that make us all consider the problems they face.  Harry is a wonderfully complex character and the continual crisis he faces involving Voldemort is delicious.  As corny as it may seem, I truly adore the fact that Voldemort failed to kill the boy because of the love of his parents.  A sure sign that good will prevail, even if we must cut away a part of our evil selves to ensure it.

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted January 23, 2008 at 7:59 AM (Answer #3)

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I love the connection you've made here and I completely agree. If JK wasn't going for this specifically she certainly hit the nail on the head. She is such a wonderful author, nothing in her stories was written by accident, she paid such close attention to detail that each time you reread one of her books you tend to discover some new facet of the story. I completely see the parallels in your quote and her stories. We all have good and evil and if we are trying to live a moral life there will always be a constant battle warring within ourselves to overcome one, hopefully to overcome the evil that resides within us all.

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boryung | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted August 16, 2010 at 3:54 AM (Answer #4)

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Actually, I saw Harry as more of an absolutely good character. Obviously, Harry had character flaws, including a short temper, pride, and what Hermione described as his "hero complex," but as Dumbledore stated, Harry was a decent person who does the right thing because it's right. Dumbledore even envied Harry's goodness. I would say that Dumbledore was definitely a morally ambiguous character. In a way, Harry surpassed him by remaining uncorrupted. Some may argue that Harry contantly doing the right thing just because it's right is unrealistic, but to me a character like Harry was refreshing. Authors seem inclined to add a dark streak to their characters to make them more realistic, but Harry makes me believe that truly good people can exist.

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