Welcome to the second month of the Harry Potter re-read! Each month I’ll be reading a book from the series, in order, until Harry Potter Book Night on February 4th. This month’s discussion is a bit different from last month’s. This time around, I’d like to discuss the impact of emotional abuse on children and if Harry is a realistic example of an abused child.
While reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, I began thinking about Harry’s behavior during his time with the Dursleys and how it compared to mine when I was growing up in an emotionally abusive home. Like Harry, I remember doing everything I could after a certain age to be as invisible as possible. I tried to disappear and I rarely ever had more than a couple close friends at a time. Unlike Harry, I moved so many times that I stopped making friends and retreated into my world of books. I never learned how to deal with bullies like Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, but there were times when I stood up for myself or someone else the way Harry does. However, Harry has a remarkable sense of justice that very few kids his age have let alone children who have been neglected or abused. He also never acts out in self-destructive or harmful ways.
Harry doesn’t seem to be nearly as damaged as I felt, and I’ve been wondering why that is. Perhaps it’s because the Dursley’s aren’t his parents. Knowing this, maybe Harry understood the way he was treated wasn’t normal, and he was just unlucky in the relatives department? That’s a bit difficult to believe since he’s known nothing else, having been placed in their “care” when he was a baby. Maybe there’s another reason I’m just not seeing?
I also can’t decide whether or not Harry suffers from a lack of self-esteem and confidence as most abused children do. Perhaps he does, and that’s why he shies away from special attention? Granted, the kind of attention he gets in Chamber of Secrets is more excessive than probably any kid would want to deal with, but he also shies away from the attention he gets for defeating Voldemort. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with the attention he gets for being the youngest member of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, though.
I would love to know your thoughts on this subject, either in the comments or a separate post. Also, share any of your Harry Potter-related posts in the link up. I’ll feature at least one post each month, and if I decide to do a giveaway for Harry Potter Book Night, those that link up will get bonus points. While you’re at it, check out the other posts such as this recipe for chocolate frogs from The Daily Mayo.