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Popular Literature: The Harry Potter Series

Consider the following:

How do the Harry Potter novels are encouraging young adults to read

In a critique of that work and a commentary on the influence of the work in popular culture. Address the following:

Identify the literary production you chose to focus on. Provide a brief overview of what the piece is about, the author's background and how the piece fits or does not fit with other literature of that genre.

What is the cultural significance of the work? Reflect on whether the piece is considered economically successful or if it has fan followings.

What cultural values are reinforced or challenged in the work?

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Commercial success

The Harry Potter series has generated over 450 million copies worldwide, has been translated into dozens of languages and millions of people, children and adults, have seen the films. (Harry Potter, 2011) Only the Bible has been translated into more languages. (Blake, 2002) In addition, other books have been generated such as Quidditch guides; toys, video games, costumes, wands, etc have been developed and sold. Each book release has been accompanied by midnight parties with face painting and other activities gleaned from the books, as well as long lines and pre-ordering before the book actually comes out. The first edition of Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince sold out in 24 hours (Harry Potter, 2011). This certainly speaks to one cultural influence of these seven novels.

The Harry Potter series has not only captured the interest of children around the world, but adults have been just as eager to read to books and to see the movies. It is possible that the popularities of the books and movies is a result of commercial promotion : the trailer for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was shown for six months prior to its release, accompanied by merchandise such as broomsticks and badges. The Coco Cola Company spent $100 million dollars to purchase pre-advertising rights before there was even a product to sell. The third novel, The Goblet of Fire, was an internet best seller three months before it was released (Blake, 2002).

Some people believe that the commercialization of the Harry Potter brand, which has generated toys and video games has a negative effect on children. These toys are made by young people in China under ...

Solution Summary

How do the Harry Potter novels encourage young people to read? The commercial success of the novels and the movies have had a large effect. The cultural impact of the stories resonate across age groups but still captivate young audiences in particular. Both commercial and cultural success are analyzed briefly to provide clues to the sociological significance of the novels.