The fundamentals of the books
While comparing children’s books, I would like you to become familiar with the history of their appearance. Thus, the first book I want to discuss is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe written by famous novelist C. S. Lewis. It should be pointed out that a fantasy novel was written in the early fifties. Generally, I would like to state that the plot of the novel is to be considered in relation to socialization issues.
The second book I want to analyze is Harry Potter. This book is of the same genre as the previous one. It is a fantasy novel written by J. K. Rowling. Generally, there are seven books written about the adventures of a wizard – Harry Potter. In my opinion, the key themes of the novel seem to be culture, identity and power.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
There is a need to consider the importance of each book in detail.
Let’s start from the novel written in 1950. I would like to draw the readers’ attention to the fact that Lewis’s book can be analyzed from different perspectives.
For instance, the list of the characters the author provides us with, gives us an opportunity to suppose that there are the gender roles the novelist created, which form the children’s views in relation to the basic characteristics both sexes should possess. In other words, one can make a conclusion that sex differences in the novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe seem to be one of the most important themes, which should be analyzed.
So, the main characters the author describes in his book are Lucy Pevensie, Edmund Pevensie, Susan Pevensie, Peter Pevensie, The White Witch, Tumnus, The Professor, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, Maugrim, Father Christmas, Mrs. Macready, and Giant Rumblebuffin. Generally, Lewis said that the main character of his story was Peter Pevensie.
In my opinion, this character seems to be special, as his intentions to protect his siblings play a significant role in children’s comprehension what a real man should be.
In other words, it is obvious that the author relies on a special psychological approach, which forms and determines the children’s attitudes in relation to the intrinsic characteristics of males. The fact that the events described in the book took place during the World War II allows us to suppose that the author wanted children also to become familiar with the realities of life.
Thus, it seems that, on the one hand, the novel is fantastic, – it is written for children to entertain them; on the other hand, a fantasy novel is a serious book, as it forms the world view of children. Anderson is of the opinion that “books open up new worlds to children. Books expose children to a variety of experiences they might not otherwise have been subjected to in their own lives” (2).
Taking into account this statement, one can suppose that the novelist’s fantasy is an effective way to familiarize children not only with their own culture, but also with another one. To my mind, there are magic depictions, which are mostly associated with various cultural issues. Of course, it is also necessary to state that the reflection of the relations between the main characters is extremely important, as such method has a social power.
Another important point I would like to highlight is the so-called society function the author popularizes in his novel. First of all, it should be pointed out that most of children’s books are written to help children accept society functions they are to perform. Thus, Lewis’s novel is not an exception. It helps identify emotions and shows the ways other people are to be treated.
When speaking about another book – Harry Potter, I would like to add that J. K. Rowling’s depictions seem to be more real. Moreover, the novel about a wizard is recognized to be an important socializing tool.
While The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is based on the basic societal functions the author wants his little readers to become familiar with, Rowling’s novel represents new societal changes. This fact cannot be regarded as unusual one, as numerous things do not remain constant over time. For this reason, it is necessary to state that the key ideas of the books of the same genre are different, as the process of constant development cannot be neglected or avoided.
Both books are considered to be extremely popular. Thus, according to an American weekly magazine Times, the novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was included into the category TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.
When speaking about Harry Potter, there is a need to point out that more than 375 million copies of the novel “have been sold worldwide. This overwhelming success demonstrates that people all over the world feel entertained by the series and indicates strong positive parasocial relationships with the protagonist in readers from very different (cultural) backgrounds” (Schmid & Klimmt 253).
Of course, I cannot say that there are no similar features in the novels. For instance, I would like to draw the readers’ attention to the fact that socially constructed gender distinctions are present in both books. One more important aspect I would like to highlight is the plot of both novels, which influences children’s perception.
Thus, one is to keep in mind that the events, which are described in both books impact on the way children see images of themselves. Moreover, it is also obvious that the illustrations the authors provide their little readers with influence the way children comprehend stereotypical roles of the main characters.
In other words, the book written in the early fifties and one written within the past 10 year show good traits of character a person is to possess. Thus, the main characters both authors describe are considered to be kind, brave, honest, responsible, etc.; while negative characters are recognized to be totally different. They are greedy, dishonest, irresponsible, etc.
The importance of social class, which both authors touch on in their novels, cannot be omitted too. For this reason, when analyzing the plot of the novels, I have understood that children took into account the so-called individual responsibilities of the main characters, but not their social status. Generally, children are mostly interested in the actions the main characters are to follow to achieve their aims.
Liberal feminist theory seems to be another important aspect, which is to be highlighted. Thus, I have to state that gender stereotypes influence children’s comprehension of gender roles. In this case, one can speak about the so-called child stratification.
So, in my opinion, the objectives both authors wanted to achieve were successfully completed. The main difference between the two novels of the same genre is the so-called time period the books are written within.
Moral and ethical principles seem to be the key aspects Lewis and Rowling wanted to highlight. Generally, it is an old truth that good wins evil in all the times. Moreover, children should also understand that it is not so easy to overcome the difficulties; however, if the characters show patience, they will always succeed. For instance, Allyson Foreman says that a wizard Harry Potter is considered to be the so-called role model; and “in fact, serves as an excellent model for leadership.
Further, Harry’s actions convey a deeper meaning about the importance of moral and ethical development through a comparison of stages in the young character’s life” (22). The same can be said about the main characters of the novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
When comparing the novels, it becomes obvious that both authors depicted the issues, which were interesting and important within certain time period. In spite of the fact, however, one is to keep in mind that new changes will always occur, and thus, new realities will be described and analyzed.
The only thing, which can be probably constant, seems to be the principal goal of the main characters. The struggle of opposites will always exist, as without evil there will be no evolution. For this reason, all the events, which the authors describe in their novels, are extremely important to understand that the reality can be changed.
Anderson, Angela. Power Disparities and the Structure of Childrearing: A Content Analysis of Bestselling Children’s Books, 2011. Web. 14 April 2012.
Foreman, Allyson. The Boy Who Lived To Lead: An Analysis of Harry Potter’s Moral and Ethical Leadership Development, n.d. Web. 14 April 2012.
Schmid, Hannah, and Christoph, Klimmt. A Magically Nice Guy: Parasocial Relationships with Harry Potter Across Different Cultures, 2011. Web. 14 April 2012.