• Daemons and Pets as signifiers of social class

    Author(s):
    Alison Baker (see profile)
    Date:
    2017
    Group(s):
    Sociology, Speculative and Science Fiction
    Subject(s):
    20th century, Children's literature, Class, Young adult literature
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Nine Worlds
    Conf. Loc.:
    London
    Conf. Date:
    16th August 2016
    Tag(s):
    children's literature, Fantasy fiction, J. K. Rowling, Phiip Pullman
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6H23M
    Abstract:
    This paper seeks to examine whether daemons (which take the shape of animals) and familiar animals indicate the social class of characters in Harry Potter and His Dark Materials. Both series of books for young people were started at a time when neo-liberal politics were at the forefront of government, both in the late years of John Major’s Conservative government and Tony Blair’s New Labour government, which did little to challenge the assumption that Britain was meritocratic and that poverty was not an “excuse for failure” . I will use a Bourdieuian approach to class to discuss daemons and familiar animals as markers of social class. We are told in Northern Lights (1995) that children’s daemons (physical manifestations of the inner self, or soul) are mutable. Lyra’s daemon changes to suit her mood, circumstances or will. However, the more powerful the adult character in the His Dark Materials trilogy, the higher the status of the daemon is. The servants of Lyra’s home, Jordan College, all have dogs as daemons. In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, children are permitted to bring an animal with them to Hogwarts. Since Harry has discovered that he is rich, he can afford to buy the best familiar available- a white owl, but we learn a lot about his friends’ social status through their animals.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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