Yesterday I finally picked up the book "Looking for God in Harry Potter" by John Granger, even though it's bees sitting on my shelf for quite a while.
I recommend this book. First of all, to all Harry Potter fans, as it will deepen your appreciation for the series. Second of all, to all Harry Potter naysayers who are afraid of the series for religious reasons. It might change your mind, or at least give you food for thought.
But most of all, I recommend, HIGHLY recommend, this book to people like me: homeschooling moms who are trying to tackle the great beast that is literature and how to present it to their students. This book goes a long way towards introducing me, the "teaching student"...for I will be learning alongside my kids) about such things as symbolism, themes, plot devices and so on.
Just from having read a few chapters of this book, I was able to have an intelligent conversation with Wes about Pride and Prejudice. P and P is a book I've read twice and a movie I've watched countless times. I'm FAMILIAR with it. But until reading Granger's analysis of Harry Potter, I'd never really seen the coupling and opposite parallels in the characters of P and P because I'd never known to look at them before. (Angelic Jane juxtaposed to Fleshly Lydia who surround the main character the complicated Elizabeth...on the one hand, and the complicated Darcy as central character w/ Bingly as best friend who is determined to see the good in everything and everybody versus Wickham his enemy-who is a liar,and who uses people for what he can get from them. Bingly marries Jane and Wickham marries Lydia and each gets what he/she deserves. Meanwhile of course Elizabeth and Darcy-who are both complicated and imperfect and much more developed are for each other. Additionally Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, the wise manipulator (his mocking wit!) married to the foolish manipulator (her nerves!) are mirrored by Sir Lucas (who is foolish. and Mrs. Lucas who "manages" him, and again in greater detail by Charlotte and her foolish Mr. Collins.)
So, just as I am asking myself how I'm ever going to teach my kids literature when I have such a weak literary background myself, here is this wonderful short book that gives me an introduction to English Literary Tradition by way of a series of books I'm rather familiar with and which my kids are VERY familiar with: Harry Potter. And the things I'm learning will be transferable to other literature.
So, at least I have an answer...or rather the beginning of one. Before we read anything else this school year, Bethany, Maia and I will read looking for God in Harry Potter and discuss other works of fiction in light of what we will have learned from reading this book.
I highly recommend it.