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It has three short hands, one long needle and thirty-six symbols round the rim. Each symbol has an almost ‘never ending series of meanings’ which are listed in the books of readings. The alethiometrist can point each of the three short hands to a symbol and by holding the question and right level of meaning for each symbol in mind, the long needle will ‘swin[g] round and poin[t] to more symbols that give [the alethiometrist] the answer.’ Reading the alethiometer is slow and difficult as is exemplified by the reading of Fra Pavel in where he is gazing intently at the instrument, ‘stopping every minute or so to note down what he found’, open up one of the books and ‘search laboriously through the index, and look up a reference before writing that down too’ after which he would turn back to the instrument. Additionally, one can only use the alethiometer after decades of diligent study. In contrast, Lyra is able to read the alethiometer intuitively ‘by grace’.As Shelley King explains, Lyra represents one category of reader, an intuitive reader who ‘instinctively possesses the necessary skills for understanding’. The other category is represented by Fra Pavel’s reading and indicates ‘trained Scholars, who, with the aid of years of study supplemented by books of critical commentary produced by previous Scholars’ can come to a more conscious understanding of the alethiometer or text. Lauren Shohet explains how the trilogy can be read on a multitude of levels: ‘the four levels of Renaissance allegory’: narrative, symbolic, moral and apocalyptic. Shohet argues that the alethiometer may be seen as ‘a figure for the novels’ project of engaging Renaissance tradition’ demonstrating the multiple levels of reading within the text as well as the ‘sophisticated awareness of [the novels’] relation to past texts’. The trilogy, like the symbols of the alethiometer, is multilayered and can be read in both Lyra’s intuitive sense as well as the scholar’s laborious approach.Rowling plants clues but ‘simultaneously entrap[s] the careless reader into false assumptions and ignoring the clues’. The reader is invited to reread the story again to discover these clues, and as the re-reader knows the fabula for that specific novel, the reader is re-reading as a hermeneutic reader. A different type of reader is presented symbolically in through the alethiometer.
Despite the limited and distorted information that the reader receives inherent to having Harry as the focalizer, the reader should, like Hermione, in the earlier quoted words by Nikolajeva, ‘make inferences beyond the protagonist’s ability’ An interesting aspect to the concept of the hermeneutic narratee is the importance and allure of re-reading.
As Fife points out, Rowling has a ‘simple, direct narrative style’ which pulls readers ‘into her fictional construct’ and therefore tempts readers to read too superficially.
It is published twice a year, in June and December, and includes articles and book review articles.
All proposals are double-blind peer-reviewed by experts and the journal is widely indexed and disseminated through international platforms. It is also indexed in SCOPUS, MLA, DICE, CAHRUS Plus and MIAR and disseminated by ERIHPlus, JSTOR, Latindex, The Year’s Work in English Studies, as well as by EBSCO and Pro Quest databases, among other indexing and abstracting services.
Each series has won a variety of awards and has received both positive as well as negative criticism.
The first novels of the Potter series dominated , the third and final novel in the series, in both adult and juvenile categories. This curious popularity with an audience consisting of both adults and children does not originate with these novels. Beckett already explains in her introduction to , authors have been crossing the boundaries between children and adult fiction since they were first drawn up in the mid-eighteenth century. While some critics argue that the increasing amount of crossover literature is an indication of the ‘imminent death of children’s literature’, others argue that the popularity of children’s books with adults is an indication of ‘cultural infantilism’; meaning an ‘escapism from the travails of being an adult in contemporary society.’ The latter criticism, as Steven Barfield shows, is linked to the idea of a consumerist culture and the dependence on marketing forces. The assumption is that contemporary culture is a ‘society where the triumph of the manufactured mass culture of soap operas, reality TV and so on, has led to the imaginative deprivation in both children and adults.’ In addition, the argument that for instance the Harry Potter ‘phenomenon’ has gained its massive popularity mainly through the success of its marketing is, as Barfield argues, ‘usually founded upon the assumption that lacking any intrinsic literary values, in either the literary quality of writing, or of thematic originality, then there can only be an externally manufactured reason for Rowling’s success.’ Additionally, the ‘cultural infantilism’ argument assumes that children’s literature is by necessity more simplistic than adult literature.A third section focuses on the social values underlying the Potter series and on issues such as morality, the rule of law, and constructions of bravery. is the journal of the Spanish Association of English Studies, AEDEAN (Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos).These extracts give a different perspective on events and though the texts are often misleading and unreliable, they allow the reader to deduce information beyond Harry’s initial assumptions.In addition, in the latter novels there are slightly more occasions where other characters act as focalizer, noticeably the two opening chapters of : ‘The Other Minister’ and ‘Spinner’s End’. Instead of the polyfocalization that Pullman employs, Rowling complicates her narrative by directing it to what Fife calls ‘the hermeneutic narratee’. She defines this hermeneutic narratee as ‘the person to whom the narrator tells the story, expecting that he or she will fill in the narratorial gaps, figure things out, solve the mysteries, or guess hidden symbolism.’ Another important term in relation to this concept is the ‘fabula’, meaning the ‘larger entirety of the story, the chronological series of events of the story, the untold events and nuances, and all the multiple levels of meaning to be found within the story.’ Within the narrative, Hermione functions as the hermeneutic narratee and figures out the fabula for the novels, and as Fife argues, it is this character that ‘the reader should emulate.’ As Behr points out, Hermione is ‘presented as the know-it-all source of knowledge’ from the beginning of the series, and is established ‘as an authority’. Behr argues that Hermione ‘consistently modifies the reader’s perceptions of people and things, acting as the rational, balanced voice opposing Harry’s anger, suggesting alternative understandings of people, relationships and facts.’ The reason she is able to do this, is because she less likely than Harry to jump to conclusions, is able to remember significant details and perceive the subtext, for instance deducing from Professor Umbridge’s speech at the beginning of that the Ministery of Magic is interfering at Hogwarts. Because of her perceptiveness and insight, Professor Mc Gonagal instructs Harry to listen to Hermione, thereby setting her up as an authority again. Since Hermione functions as the hermeneutic narratee, she functions as an example to the reader who should question Harry’s quick assumptions.On the surface, the narration in the beginning of both series is deceptively simple, even if there is no omniscient narrator. As Nikolajeva argues; because the child protagonist is focalized internally, the reader ‘perceive[s] the events and other characters exclusively through [the child’s] naïve, immature and often biased mind.’ The result is that the reader receives only limited and distorted information, but ‘a keen reader may make inferences beyond the protagonist’s ability’. Only infrequently in does Lyra not function as the focalizer.An example is the conversation between the Master and the Librarian where the Librarian is the focalizer. The importance of this episode is that the reader is given essential information about both Lyra’s world such as the totalitarian regime of the Church, ‘the Church’s power over every aspect of life [was] absolute’, and in addition, the reader is made privy to information that need necessarily be concealed from Lyra, for instance the fact that she will experience a great betrayal and most importantly: ‘, this first chapter sets Harry up as being a special child who will have an important role to play in the upcoming story; a role that he is unaware of.In addition, though the figure of the alethiometer, Pullman hints at the different levels of meaning within the text and indicates two different categories of readers, and thus also methods of reading, to approach the text.The complexity of the narratives as well as the different reading strategies indicated, allow for a highly sophisticated level of reading of the text and contradicts the seeming simplicity of the texts.During this match, Harry is almost thrown off his broom because Quirrel, under the influence of the series’ antagonist Voldemort, is cursing him, as is revealed towards the end of the novel. Hermione and Ron assume that it is Snape who is cursing Harry and Rowling cleverly misleads the reader through the shift in focalizer. The focalizer shifts from Harry, to Ron watching Harry losing control of his broom, to Hermione on her way to Snape to Snape realising that his robes are on fire. Through these focalizer shifts, the reader’s attention is distracted from Harry and the exact sequence of events is obscured so that the reader is encouraged to draw the wrong conclusions and is cleverly misled. In the second novel of also marks a significant shift in setting and the novel alternates between Lyra’s world, our own world and Cittàgazze, the initial bridge world between the two.This has the interesting effect that whilst Lyra functions as focalizer, our own world is ‘described partially […] by means of estrangement, that is, by presenting familiar things as if they were unfamiliar.’ Incidentally, a very similar opposition is created in exists ‘only in relation to the “real” world’, she describes the wizard world as a ‘shadow world’ existing ‘largely in the gaps in Muggle perceptions’. Because the wizard world echoes or mirrors ‘real’ customs and discourse, our own world is, like in reflected back at the reader. To come back to the focalization argument, increasingly throughout the series, Pullman uses polyfocalization. He uses an increasing number of characters as focalizer thereby allowing the reader ‘to know and understand more than any of his several focalizing characters’ as well as increasing the complexity of the narrative since several storylines are told simultaneously.