Altruism in Contemporary Young Adult Literature

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The Harry Potter series is an international literature phenomenon that is both criticised and cherished. Penned by renowned author J.K. Rowling the story of the boy wizard seems to break the barriers of age, race, religion and gender with the range of its fans. This investigation focuses on the Harry Potter series and intends to answer the question of Harry Potter: Selfish or Selfless under the topic of Altruism in Contemporary Young Adult Literature. This investigation is a literature review; unlike a science experiment this report requires are more in-depth analysis of literature on the chosen topic. The intentions of the research are to investigate the topic of Altruism within the Harry Potter series, specifically the choices and…show more content…
It is indicated through a prophecy within the Harry Potter series that “Neither can live while the other survives.”(Rowling, 2003: 841). Harry is told, and deduces on his own, that if Lord Voldemort is ever to perish then he must also die, giving the impression that without his own death Lord Voldemort can never be destroyed. This information directly effects Harry’s final decision to die without a fight at Lord Voldemort’s hand. It can be argued that due to the information that is provided by the prophecy, Harry’s option on whether or not to sacrifice himself where striped; and with the lack of options came a lack of choice, and therefore a lack of willingness. This suggests that by Campbell’s statement Harry is not a hero, as his self-sacrifice was not willing. Paula Soares Faria, PhD in English Studies, states in her PhD thesis that “The difference between the villain and the hero can be seen here, not in the act of the sacrifice itself, but in the purpose it serves.” (Faria 2008:85; emphasis Faria) When taking this into account it can be argued that it was not the Harry’s choice or the actual sacrifice itself that should be considered, but rather what this choice achieved; which was the death of the section Voldemort’s soul that resided within Harry, and by extension, Voldemort’s demise. This suggests that by Faria’s statement Harry is a hero, as regardless of why he chose to sacrifice
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