Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Freedom and Confinement

By J.K. Rowling

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Freedom and Confinement

The Prisoner of Azkaban pays attention to the psychological effects of imprisonment and confinement on its characters. In Book 3, aside from the obvious prisoner in the title, Sirius Black, we also see the effects of different kinds of prisons on characters like Harry (a prisoner at the Dursleys' house), Hermione (trapped by her own overachiever tendencies), Peter (stuck living life as a rat out of cowardice and fear), and our new pal Lupin (trapped by his condition as a werewolf). But despite all these themes and images of prison, we do get some freedom in the book too. Freedom is most strongly represented by flight, be it on brooms or on Buckbeak the hippogriff.

Questions About Freedom and Confinement

  1. How has Sirius been affected by his imprisonment? What clues do we have about how he has changed as a person and how he has remained the same through it?
  2. In what ways does Hermione's story arc embody themes of imprisonment and freedom?
  3. How does Harry react to being confined and what does this tell us about his character?
  4. How do secrets imprison characters in this novel? What are some examples of characters trapped by secrets?

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