World Views, Prejudices, and Power Dynamics

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World Views, Prejudices, and Power Dynamics

Post by Admin on Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:35 pm

On pg. 2, Rowling writes, “her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be.”
  • What does this say about the Dursley’s world view?
  • How do the Dursley’s attitudes towards the wizarding community compare to real-life prejudices?


On pg. 5, Rowling writes, “He hurried to his car and set off for home, hoping he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before, because he didn’t approve of imagination.”
  • What can you infer from this quote about Vernon’s upbringing and home life?
  • How does it make you feel that Vernon doesn’t approve of imagination?


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  • What are the power dynamics between Vernon and Petunia?
  • Do they follow traditional gender stereotypes?
  • What about Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore?
  • What other real world issues could you connect the events of this chapter to?

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Chapter 1 Responses

Post by Cdcottam1 on Mon Nov 09, 2015 12:31 pm

It says that the Dursleys world-view is terribly small if they think it's horrifying for people to be different from them at all.

Their prejudices against wizards closely parallel past and present prejudices against human beings.  I love how JKR wrote a series of books that is such a powerful allegory for the problems our society faces.

That is so sad to me and it makes me wonder what kind of a childhood Vernon had that inclined him to not approve of imagination. Imagination has been such a great gift in my life. How horrible must his parents have been to not only shun imagination but raise Vernon in a way that made him turn out as such an angry, petty, cruel human being?

Vernon definitely has more power in the relationship than Petunia.  He is the one who makes important decisions, bosses Petunia and Dudley around, and takes his whole family on a wild excursions in an attempt to flee from the letters.  

Yes they follow traditional gender roles.  Petunia stays at home and takes care of the house while Vernon works (assumedly) full time.  Which, I should add, is great as long as it's what she wants to be doing Smile

McGonagall and Dumbledore are on much more even footing than Petunia and Dursley.  The only real power dynamic affecting McGonagall and Dumbledore is that Dumbledore is McGonagall's boss.  She is deputy headmistress, which is the second highest position at Hogwarts.

Other real world issues:

Erasure (in that the Dursleys pretend that Petunia's sister and brother in law and, indeed, their whole culture, don't exist.

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