In Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, how does Rowling create/reflect beliefs of the nature of childhood?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is clear that childhood in this novel is presented as a necessary coming to terms with certain adult truths that take away innocence and naivety and confront children with the harsh realities of life. This is something that Harry has to face much earlier than other children due to the death of his parents when he was a baby and the mistreatment he receives at the hands of his aunt and uncle. But also, as the novel progresses, he has to face the fact that his parents did not die in a car crash but were cruelly murdered. In addition, he has to learn lots of important lessons about life. Consider, for example, what Dumbledore says to him about the Mirror of Erised that shows Harry his dead parents:

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.

Harry has to realise that the past is past and no magic, however strong, can truly restore his dead parents to him. Childhood in this novel therefore is presented as a shedding of childish innocence for harsh adult realities. This rather sombre presentation of childhood does not stop Harry and his friends from enjoying themselves, however.

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