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Psychology Character Analysis - Harry Potter

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Psychology Character Analysis Harry Potter is a ten-year-old boy living with his aunt and uncle. His parents died in a car crash when he was just a baby. His cousin, Dudley, his aunt Petunia and his uncle Vernon all despise him and treat him like dirt. Harry hates this, but has grown used to it and puts up with their constant harassing and making fun of him. On his eleventh birthday however, he discovers that his parents were actually a witch and a wizard who were murdered by an evil wizard. This takes Harry by complete surprise and changes his entire life. He is taken away to start school at Hogwarts, the school for magic. He meets many people that have known his family over the years and discovers that his name is famous among all the students and teachers at Hogwarts. ...read more.


He doesn't feel like there is a danger in living with the Dursleys, just that there is an unpleasantness. The main issue I noticed about Harry is that he felt like a misfit for most of his life. His needs for love and belonging were definitely not being met by the Dursleys. He had no friends, because the Dursleys made him feel like an outcast and went out of their way to make him feel as socially inept as possible. Any time Harry made a new friend, they would do something that caused him to lose that friendship. He felt lonely and isolated and this made him become angry with the people causing him to feel this way. On Dudley Dursley's birthday the family makes a trip to the zoo, where Harry talks to a snake. ...read more.


Much later, Harry helps to stop an evil wizard from stealing the sorcerer's stone and is thanked by the entire school and headmaster. With all this happening, Harry starts to develop more self-esteem, but every time he is reminded of something the Dursleys said to him, he becomes meek again and instead of socializing, he isolates himself. Maslow, or any other psychologist would say that in order to solve these problems, the ideal thing to do would be to take Harry away from the Dursleys. That way, he would start to forget about the things that were blocking his needs for love and belonging and esteem. This is what happens at Hogwarts, because he has no contact with them for most of the year. He has to go home at the end of summer though and this causes him to go back into a shell. When he is old enough to leave the family, he will grow out of the problems because he has other friends reinforcing his positives. ...read more.

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Response to the question

The Response to Question here is fair and the candidate demonstrates a clear understanding of the story of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone. They aim to explain the psychological impact of Harry's life both with the Dursleys and as ...

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Response to the question

The Response to Question here is fair and the candidate demonstrates a clear understanding of the story of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone. They aim to explain the psychological impact of Harry's life both with the Dursleys and as a celebrated wizard who does not know anything of the stratospheric fame he was born into. They partially succeed in that they show they have a sound knowledge of the plot and how Harry might react to it, but the actual interpretation is lacking and in most places unconvincingly brief. The candidate must aim to produce a more detailed answer with more use of specialist terminology to prevent themselves sounding like just another avid Harry Potter fan who is simply re-telling the story rather than actually analysing any psychological factors that Rowling explores in Potter's character.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is evident but it is not acceptable for a GCSE standard. There are moment that are successfully convincing and they provide the bones of the essay that naturally push some of the lesser developed analysis forward. However, a lot of what is written here is merely subjective interpretation that feels lacking in any objective analysis. There is a good attempt to identify key moments from the text but partially because of the candidate's poor analytical skills and partially because of the broad range of scenes and events drawn upon, the analysis is spread far too thinly and never really develops itself to any insightful depth.

To improve, I recommend the candidate work on their basic analytical skills. That is, they should first consult only very key moments from the text, such as the revelation of Harry's wizard blood-line, his first Quidditch match, discovering the Philosopher's stone, defeating Voldemort/Quirrel etc. and then working to greater depths to analyse how Harry's psyche might be feeling. Under stress? Elated? Relieved? Terrified? How does he feel in relation to his friends (considering say, the mountain troll attacking Hermione in the girl's bathroom).

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication (QWC) is fine. For the most part, this candidate demonstrates a good handling of English language and maintains an acceptable standard that reads well, albeit with minute errors that not even spelling or grammar checks would pick up. As a result, none of the answer's clarity is compromised a great deal although minor errors such as "Voledemort" should be rectified before submission for maximum QWC marks.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 27/04/2012

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