harry potter - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
Watching the third movie in the series, a subconscious fear of non-whites and of non-middle classed people becomes apparent. Upon the knight bus the only black presence is a shrunken black man's head dangling from a string, as if the subconscious felt the need to remove the body, to render it a helpless figure. Even disempowered in this way the black head is relentlessly upbeat as the slaves and "Uncle Tom's" were portrayed. Added to this the "shrunken heads" in the pub, the first non-white presence in the pub bring to mind voodoo stereotypes and such racism. Working class characters are also made degenerate in some way, socially darwinistic views playing out. Stan Shunpike looks as if he has some terrible skin disease, Ernie is of feeble form, and the welcomer at the inn is a hunch back. Filch, the 'working class' representation in Hogwarts is mean, physically unappealing, stupid and his name in British English translates as meaning "sneaky thief." Apparently, normal and safe is middle class white people. I can't bring to mind any significant character that is a non-white or non-middle classed person in a position of respect and power - unless we count Hagrid, who is made less threatening by "virtue" of reduced intelligence and competence. The upper class is feared too, for they are Slytherin, apparently born to become evil, children that are death-eaters in the making. When we look at word associations, "Sirius Black" sounds similar to "serious black," and the word associations with his character all go downhill from there. And in all of this our conundrum is that the author is stoically anti-racist and a public bastion of fairness in society. And so let this be a lesson to all writers, to examine the visual and word associations of their work, puns included, for all of us, even our very best, live in the same poisoned societies.
When we see the dementors, the name conjuring the word "tormentors" to the subconscious thoughts, we see the classic bully who uses our own fears as weapons and sucks at our very soul. We see that the cure is "sweetness," a great symbol of kindness and comfort. Additionally, in this clever metaphor we are taught to bring our positive memories to the surface, to trigger positive brain chemistry as the demented bully attempts to cause the opposite. We learn to see that it is the bully who is the one to pity, the one who needs to heal with love and empathy. Thus we flip the switch on the narrative and learn to respect the emotionally sensitive people we are so blessed to have among us.
Perhaps we can see Hogwarts as a representation of colonialism, the "goods" turning up as if by magic to form a banquet in the western industrialised world - the workers kept out of sight and (apparently) 'wishing only to serve masters' whom are 'careful that they don't have socks.' And so, here we have a deep metaphor for the psychological struggles of white-middle class Britain, a subconscious awareness of, and fear of, the producers of the goods upon which we consume. Are our conscious minds being "heroes of justice" while we ignore the subconscious battle that rages on, our deep sense of morality vs. the media-planted fears? Perhaps if we wake up to this reality we can start to seriously address how real global fairness could work.