Pre-teen Self-EsteemHow do the behaviors of the following characters reveal pre-teen angst and self-esteem issues?1.  Harry Potter2.  Dudley Dursley3.  Ron Weasley4.  Hermione Granger5.  Draco...

Pre-teen Self-Esteem

How do the behaviors of the following characters reveal pre-teen angst and self-esteem issues?

1.  Harry Potter

2.  Dudley Dursley

3.  Ron Weasley

4.  Hermione Granger

5.  Draco Malfoy

6.  Neville Longbottom

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1.  Harry Potter- Harry is not sure where he fits in the world.  He feels left out with his family, and when he finds out he is a wizard this just provides him more puzzles to solve.  He wants to know his place in the world.  When Harry goes to Hogwarts he is thrust into the spotlight, and has to deal with sudden and unearned fame. He has to avoid suffocating under the weight of everyone's expectations for him.

2.  Dudley Dursley-  Dudley wants to be loved.  He wants to be the center of attention, and he has been spoiled to the point where his self-esteem is completely tied to posessions.  Unless he gets what he wants, he feels like no one loves him.

3.  Ron Weasley- Ron is the last in a long line of boys, and almost the last sibling.  His sister is a girl, so she is already special.  Ron is trying to determine what makes him special, and distinguish himself from others.

4.  Hermione Granger-  Hermione desperately wants to learn.  She cares less about fitting in than knowing all she can.  Her self-esteem is tied to knowing the right answer, and solving the problem.

5.  Draco Malfoy- Draco is trying to figure out if the world matches the warped view of it that he has been raised with.  He grows throughout the books, but in the first one is still basically a bully.

6.  Neville Longbottom-  Neville has experienced a lot of pain in his life, similar to Harry.  He is still trying to understand who he is, and is learning how the world works.  He lacks social skills, probably from being raised by an overbearing grandmother.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Great question!  I love these books since there is really so much to learn from...this is a great example.

Harry obviously has much to be dissatisfied with in his life until he turns eleven and his Giant friend Hagrid comes to visit.  He is treated as a second-class citizen without even a room in the house--he lives UNDER THE STAIRCASE for Pete's sake!  He is thin, wears glasses, and has weird things happen to him all the time.  He barely gets enough to eat and definitely does not have the same rights as Dudley.  He is humble, and not too sure of his place in life.  Once he gets to Hogwarts, things change for him.  Slowly he becomes more sure of himself and gets used to the fact that he is famous.

Dudley, the spoiled rotten obese cousin of Harry, has an overly inflated opinion of himself because his parents are sniveling excuses for parental units.  He has TWO bedrooms in the house to house his toys and clothes and whines when he has one less present for his birthday than the year before.  UGH.

Ron is red-headed and a pure blood wizard.  He is not sure of himself as his family seems to be the target of ridicule as the Weasley children are known for hand-me-downs and handmade clothing.  They are not wealthy, and do not flaunt belongings.

Hermione has reasons to be unsure.  She is a muggle, not born of wizard parents.  They are looked down upon by pure-blood wizards.

Draco has a too-high opinion of himself.

Wiggin42 | Student

In book 3 when Buckbeak paws at Draco and injures his arm, Draco milks out his injury for all its worth. For a shining week and a half, he is the star of attention at the Slytherin table. Pansy cares for him. His father comes in and bullies his way into executing Buckbeak. Life is good for Draco Malfoy. He can show off his power. This whole subplot is a great example of Draco's high self esteem. 

boryung | Student

Harry is obviously going to have issues with self-esteem and pre-teen angst because he was always so put down by the Dursleys in his youth, and then by both evil wizards and government officials. He is also uncertain about how well he would be able to keep up at Hogwarts, having lived in the Muggle world all his life until before he found out about Hogwarts.

 Dudley, on the other hand, is probably going to have a little to much self-esteem, having been spoiled and pampered by his parents all his life. His mother, especially, tended to proclaim that her son was a perfect angel. Draco Malfoy would probably be similar to Dudley in this respect, although his self-esteem significantly diminshes when his father is thrown in prison and he is forced by Voldemort to undertake a very difficult task that he struggles for a full year with and is eventually unable to complete.

Ron's self-esteem issues are related to his family. His siblings had all already accomplished great things, and Ron is afraid that he won't be able to match up. Neville is similar in that his grandmother is always comparing him to his parents, who were very accomplished.

Hermione, finally, doesn't appear to have self-esteem issues; she is very confident in her intelligence and knowledge of a great vareity of subjects. She doesn't seem to be very aware of the prejudice against Muggle-borns either at first. She finds out about the prejudice later, but puts up a strong front against it. In my opinion, Hermione is one of the more collected characters amongst the teenagers. although she does have a great fear of getting bad marks at school, which is revealed to be her greatest fear in the Prizoner of Azkaban.

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