The Harry Potter books are one of the most read series of our century written by the author J. K. Rowling. Despite the fact that this book is considered to belong to children’s literature it amuses the minds of people of all ages. It seems that the story of a boy who lived managed to overcome even classic literature in the past decades. It made some children take a break from computers and start reading again. Nevertheless, not all critics are so optimistic about this piece of art.
Peter Hunt, a popular British scholar, and literary critic was the first in the UK who treated children’s books as a subject of research and academic study (Wikipedia). In Hunt’s essay Instruction and Delight contemplating on the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone novel he indicates that all the children’s literature is naturally didactic because the writers can’t avoid expressing their views and opinions in their writing “manipulatively or not” (Hunt, “Instruction and Delight” 15). I guess that Peter Hunt is afraid that children are not able to see the world just as it is, after reading they see it as the author does, losing their own opinions.
In his book Children’s Literature, he claims that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone book is “among the most complained about, on the grounds that they make witchcraft seem admirable” (Hunt, “Children’s Literature” 34). In the same book, Hunt mentions that the J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books headed the list of the challenged books “on the grounds of offensive language and unsuitability for the readership age-group” (Hunt, “Children’s Literature” 256). And I quite agree with him in this point as the author creates the atmosphere of a reality today’s world of children where there are rude words, mean behavior and even violence.
So, in conclusion, I’d like to say that Peter Hunt’s claims in relation to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone are quite relevant. I’d like to specify that all the books are somehow didactic and many of them contain offensive language. Thus from my point of view Hunt’s words can’t be called claims, more the facts about this book. I guess that if J. K. Rowling had rewritten the book having taken into account Peter Hunt’s thoughts and changed it Harry Potter series would have had far fewer readers than it has now.
“Peter Hunt (Literary Critic).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Oct. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hunt_(literary_critic).
Hunt, Peter. “Instruction and Delight.” Children’s Literature: Approaches and Territories, edited by Janet Maybin, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, pp.12-26.
Hunt, Peter. Children’s Literature. Blackwell, 2006.