In J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ the main character Harry is considered a natural born hero by many around him. Harry’s considered a hero because of his miraculous near-death experience as a child with the dark lord Voldemort. Throughout this story we learn that Harry’s fame is well deserved as he shows true signs of good leadership to other’s around him.
In the story, Harry acts as a sort-of silent hero who helps perform good deeds without recognition. Throughout the action Harry is pressed to catch the said-traitor who helped kill his parents, Sirius Black. Upon learning that the traitor was not Black, but Peter Pettigrew instead, Harry begins to display his truly heroic characteristics.
With his friend Hermione, Harry dangerously goes back in time with a time turner that Hermione had been using for school purposes. First Harry and Hermione save Buck-beak, Hagrid’s beloved pet hypogrif that hurts Malfoy earlier in the story. This becomes important because Buck-beak is eventually given to Sirius Black so he can escape from Hogwarts. Then, For Harry’s true example of heroism he conjures a very difficult patronus spell to get rid of a group of dementors. In grand fashion he steps up to his heroic status by saving his friends as well as his newly introduced godfather, Sirius Black. An amazing effort that is not properly rewarded, but enjoyed by the joy of success with Harry’s good friends.
In conclusion, good friends seem to be where Harry sources his ‘heroic’ power. Not the undeserved fame, that he has previously recieved. If there is one main thing Harry and his parent’s had in common it would be good friends, and it is from those friends that they both gain there true powers and leadership.
In “A Wizard of Earthsea” Ursula Le Guin creates a world where people are given two names: one at birth, and the other as a right of passage. The first name is seemingly meaningless, given at birth only to be quickly retired, while the second name becomes far more important, given only when a person is ready to pursue destiny, and a higher purpose.
In the text, Duny receives his “true” name Ged, only after unveiling his magical talents and creating the fog. This example points toward the true weight that Le Guin puts on names and naming in “A Wizard of Earthsea”. It is Duny’s showing of true talent that attracts his namer, Ogion. Ogion sees promise and gives him his “true” name Ged and offers Ged an apprenticeship.
This example helps us better understand the role of names and naming in Earthsea in a couple of ways. First, because it is Ged’s talent that attracts his “true” name, we can gather that “true” names can be linked to the evidence of talent in a person, almost as right of passage to the person’s destiny. Second, depending on who is doing the naming, names can be more or less special. In Ged’s case his name is very special, “Thus was he given his name by one very wise in the uses of power.”
In my opinion Le Guinn uses names and naming as one would state their life goals. In the story Ged became named, accepting his path of learning wizardry. In life people set their true goals, realizing the hardship they must over come to accomplish them. The “true” names come from acceptance of true goals.
In “Alice and Wonderland” Lewis Carroll seems to take aim at the educational systems of his time by using key characters from the story. Evidence of this happens in chapter 9, when Alice meets the Gryphon and the Mock-Turtle. Upon meeting Alice, these two characters boast about their fine schooling and education.
The Mock-Turtle begins by going through the list of subjects that he had learned about such as “Arithmetic – ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision” as well as “mystery” and “seaography”. Then the Gryphon adds that lessons are named lessons “because they lessen from day to day.”
I think this example is an interesting point for discussion in that it brings about two questions . . . First, it seems obvious that Carroll uses false pseudonyms for “real world” subjects, but what motive does he present in doing so? Secondly, why does Carroll bring about these questions using the characters of the “Mock-turtle” and the “Gryphon”?
In response to the first question, I believe that Carroll may be attempting to ridicule education with simple word play like substituting history with ‘mystery’ and division with ‘derision’. I don’t think that it is too far out of the question to argue that Carroll may be re-titling history as ‘mystery’ because so much of history can seem like a mystery to us. It may be Carroll’s aim to ridicule those scholarly elitists who think otherwise . . .
In response to the second question raised, it seems that the “Mock-turtle” and the “Gryphon” were interesting choices, by Carroll, to bring forth this subliminal message that mocks education. When describing the “Mock-turtle” the queen says “It’s the thing Mock Turtle Soup is made from”. I think a quick connection one can make with the “Mock Turtle” and the anti-education message is the word ‘mock’. Obviously Carroll is attempting to mock educational standards of the day so it could be that he named his character accordingly. Next, the “Gryphon”, poses a different value. Maybe Carroll used the mythical gryphon because it inadvertently represents truth when it says lessons are called lessons “because they lessen from day to day.” A truth Carroll may be trying to establish.
I think that Carroll was very critical of education in a very comical way when he wrote “Alice and Wonderland”. I think the example of the “Mock-turtle” and the “Gryphon” illustrate that point very well.
When comparing the fathers in Donkeyskin and Cinderella I found many key similarities. The first main similarity that I noticed was that both men disregarded their daughter’s feelings and needs following the loss of their wives. Second, I noticed that they both sought out love in the wrong places and from the wrong people after their wives died. The third main similarity that I noticed was that both fathers had very strong wives and both seemed to falter and make errant decisions in light of their absences.
In Donkeyskin the King decides that he wants to marry his daughter after his wife dies. This is interesting to me because he never asks Donkeyskin about her feelings on the matter and how it would make her feel. This is very similar to Cinderella in that the widowed father jeopardizes his relationship with Cinderella because of a faulty marriage, and then turns his head when the wicked stepmother mistreats his daughter. Next, I found that both fathers from Donkeyskin and Cinderella had very questionable love interests prior to their first wives. It seemed very odd to me that Cinderella’s father would marry a woman described in the book as “ . . . the most vain and haughty woman imaginable.” After being married to a woman who was described as “ . . . the finest person you can imagine.” (30) Then in Donkeyskin the father falls in love with his daughter, which everyone finds unlawful except for him at the time. The third main similarity that I noticed was how heavily the two fathers mental well-being seemed to rely on their first wives. They both seemed to go senseless as soon as the first wife died. In Donkeyskin the father was described as “Gentle in peace . . . his subjects were perfectly happy under his protection . . .” (214) but later in the story he threatens to hang the tailors for any mistakes (216) torture the jeweler for unsatisfactory work (217) and of course he decides he wants to marry his own daughter.
I believe these common similarities between the two fathers in Donkeyskin and Cinderella portray very flawed father figures and aim to show the importance of motherhood in a family setting. Without the mothers in the stories the whole situation seemed to fall apart.