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Mass Culture in Harry Potter Phenomena  

2010-12-26 17:11:22|  分类: 我的作品 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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To many enthusiastic fans, especially teenagers, Nov 18th 2010 is a significant date because on that day Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which is the last part of the series of Harry Potter was on screen. Without doubt, Harry Potter is one of the most successful books in this century. It originates from UK and belongs to the world now. Its success reflects the power of mass culture which dominates the postmodern age. This essay intends to analyze mass culture from Harry Potter phenomena in a brief view.

 

The books of Harry Potter are quite British in some way. For example, the college system in the magic world is the same with that in Oxford or Cambridge College. While contrasted with books, movies appear to be more American because they are all conducted in Hollywood way. Harry Potter represents the characteristics of culture in the new age that seldom a culture can keep itself alone because of the globalization which some scholars regard as Americanization. In Harry Potter phenomena, British culture is mingled with American culture. And the prevalence of mass culture results in Harry Potter’s popularity.

 

Mass culture, as defined in the dictionary, is the culture that is widely disseminated via the mass media and the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group. The success of Harry Potter attributes to mass media’s mighty power. Decades ago, The Lord of the Rings and Narnia also earned great reputation, but neither of them was developed into movies, games etc. The comparison among three masterpieces does not mean Harry Potter is a better story; in fact, it means the last one is created in a better age. Moreover, Harry Potter’s success raises an upsurge of fantasy movies and stories; it leads to another wave of buying The Lord of the Rings, Narnia and so on. During the whole process of advancing Harry Potter’s commercialization, Warner Brothers leads the fantasy movie industry by taking a smart strategy. It employed famous directors and excellent actors and applied enormous special effects to suit the taste of audiences in this age. Its strategy successes to attract not only book fans by visualizing their imaginations but also a great number of movie fans. Other than books and movies, computer games of Harry Porter were also produced. Even though some persons, especially boys, who think the book is a na?ve and childish one and the movie is nothing but a show of special effects, they may be fascinated by those games. And unconsciously, they become fans of Harry Potter. This conversion is a vital part of Harry Potter phenomena. Then, like a chain reaction, when one loves one product of Harry Potter, s/he may fall in love with the others. And finally Harry Potter becomes one of the most popular cultural products in this age and serves an outstanding example of mass culture because of its commercial conducts.

 

Another reason of Harry Potter Phenomena is the genre that the book series choose. When traditional detective stories cannot attract adults and classical fairy tales cannot attract children any more, J.K.Rowling brought us a new world of magic in time. Since from the entry to the postmodern age, things belongs to modernism can shock us no more, e.g. when we see Picasso’s paintings today, we know they are of high value but may fail to understand why they are special and valuable. And the same situation happens in literature. When we read Jules Verne’s fiction, we would feel ordinary; when we read adventure stories created in the early decades of 20th century, we may feel ridiculous and na?ve. Also because the world enters the postindustrial age, an age of information, we are looking for more about new imaginations other than artificial intelligence, flying cars, aliens… which were most popular in the industrial age. We are seeking something that we cannot invent by the modern technology but which sounds real, such as a magic world. The series of Harry Potter involve elements of fairy tales, detective fiction, and adventure stories. They are favored by people of different ages and backgrounds.

 

We call a typical social group who favors a typical item for fan today. And these fans constitute the fan culture which is also an essential part of Harry Potter Phenomena and plays a vital role in promoting Harry Potter’s popularity. The books, which are best-sellers, have seized fans’ hearts so successful that fans form a habit of waiting for another book’s publishing. The story accompanies children of one generation to grow up and gives them a special memory of childhood. When that certain generation grows up, they believe in this magic world as it is a treasure of innocence; the story stands for the sweetest part of their life. So in return, fans help to create a truly existed Harry Potter’s world. Fans build Harry Potter forums on the Internet, conduct the website of Harry Potter and then talk about all stuff of magic on them. Also fans write fan-fictions to supplement the blank between each book’s publishing. Every fan has his/her own Harry Potter’s magic world. Most authors of these fan-fictions are children and other writers of children’s literature. Their works continuously supply the new magic world with fresh blood and even affect Rowling and Harry Porter’s story. When fans heard the rumor about Dumbledore’s death before the sixth book was published. They were so angry and upset that they wrote letters, left messages to Rowling that she should change the story. And finally Rowling promised fans a satisfied ending. So sometimes it can be doubted that the last book may not be the original one that Rowling wanted to write. Rather than by Rowling herself, the series are finished by her and fans together.

 

Mass culture is a complicated phenomenon and has confusing concepts. However, there is no disagreement that Harry Potter phenomena belong to the effect of mass culture. A typical age will produce a typical book. There won’t be any book the same as Harry Potter for it gives us indications about what the postmodernism is and how the mass culture affects our society.

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