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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J.K. Rowling

Perseverance Theme

Perseverance is a good thing: the ability to keep going when things seems difficult or even impossible. In Chamber of Secrets, Ginny's long-time resistance to Voldemort and Harry's willingness to keep living his life at Hogwarts, even though everyone suspects him of being Heir of Slytherin, both show perseverance. But we're not just using perseverance in the proper, positive sense. There are plenty of people in the Harry Potter novels who willingly endure hardship to achieve Dark, evil goals. For example, what are Tom Riddle's months of patiently gaining control over Ginny Weasley but proof of his perseverance? How about the twelve years that the Dursleys spend trying to repress the magic right out of Harry? They keep trying, even though it's not going to work. We're often told to keep trying, keep working hard and we'll succeed. We also need to consider, though, whether the goals we're working towards are worth our perseverance.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. Which characters in Chamber of Secrets show the most perseverance? What are they working towards? Does the moral quality of the goal make a difference to the way Rowling depicts their perseverance?
  2. The character traits of Hufflepuff House are supposed to include hard work and patience; that sounds like perseverance to us. We meet several Hufflepuffs in Book 2 (Justin Finch-Fletchley, Ernie Macmillan, and Hannah Abbott). How do they show signs of perseverance? What are their goals? How does Hufflepuff distinguish itself from the other Hogwarts houses?
  3. The ghosts of Hogwarts continue behaving as though they are alive long after their deaths. They persevere in imitating the living. Why might a ghost choose to stay in the habits of its lifetime? Do you think there are special characteristics that make a person more or less likely to become a ghost in Rowling's world? What are they?

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