Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Labor relations in Harry Potter's world

Wendy A.F.G. Stengel tackles the tricky issues of house-elf slavery and other issues of class in the Harry Potter world in the SF ezine Some Fantastic.

It is tempting to view the major labor conflict of the Harry Potter world—-the status of house elves—-simplistically: “Slavery is bad.” However, the house-elves’ exploitation resonates on many more levels. . . . As many otherwise-sympathetic characters support the use of unpaid house-elf labor, there is clearly more going on. Harry and Hermione have similar mudblood but have very different levels of political awareness; Harry treats Dobby decently, Hermione becomes a firebrand for labor rights, the Weasley children beg for them not to challenge the status quo. From exploring the status of and reactions to the house-elves, we can extrapolate the production and perpetuation of class in the wizarding world.


Post a Comment

<< Home