Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

The Vanishing Glass

  • It's about ten years later, and the Dursleys' home looks the same. The Dursleys treat their son Dudley way better than they do Harry, who sleeps in a cupboard under the stairs.
  • Harry's aunt Petunia wakes him up from a dream he remembers having before, about a motorcycle that flies. She tells him to get cracking and make breakfast for Dudley's birthday.
  • The house is full of presents for Dudley, who's fat and lazy. Harry, in contrast, is tiny and thin, and wears glasses. He doesn't know much how he got the scar on his forehead, beyond his aunt telling him he got it in the car crash that killed his parents.
  • Harry makes eggs for the Dursleys, who all meet in the kitchen. Dudley throws a fit because he only sees 36 presents; his parents have to appease him by promising him other presents later.
  • Their neighbor, Mrs. Figg, calls and says she can't watch Harry for the day. It means that Harry's going to get to go with the Dursleys on this birthday outing, instead of being left behind as he usually is. Although Dudley pretends to cry in the hope of keeping Harry from joining them on their trip to the zoo, the Dursleys are worried about leaving Harry alone in the house. He gets to go with them and Dudley's friend's family to the zoo.
  • Mr. Dursley warns Harry not to do anything suspicious at the zoo, and Harry promises he won't. Sometimes, though, suspicious stuff just happens, and there's nothing Harry can do about it. For example, when Petunia cut off Harry's hair, it grew back overnight, and when she tried to make him wear one of Dudley's old sweaters, it gets smaller and smaller until he can't even put it on. Once he found himself on the school roof when he was outrunning Dudley and his friends, but can't figure out how he got up there in the first place.
  • On their drive to the zoo, Harry shares his dream about the flying motorcycle. Mr. Dursley yells at him that that's impossible.
  • At the zoo, Dudley and his friend get better treats than Harry, and Harry stays slightly away from them so that they won't bother him.
  • Everything's going fine through lunch, until they get to the reptile house. Dudley calls the largest snake boring, because it's just sleeping. Harry goes over to look at it after Dudley moves away.
  • The snake looks up and winks at Harry, and they have a conversation. Harry asks it where it's from, and the snake points to the sign that says Brazil. The snake's never been to Brazil, though, because it was born in captivity.
  • Someone yells for Dudley and Mr. Dursley to come look at the snake, and in his rush to get over, Dudley pushes Harry out of the way. Piers and Dudley are looking at the snake through the glass when suddenly the glass vanishes. The snake escapes and makes a run for it.
  • After the panic at the zoo subsides, they all leave, and Piers says that Harry was talking to the snake. That's enough for Mr. Dursley to get really angry and punish Harry by sending him to his "room" with no food.
  • Later, Harry's lying down and thinking in the dark about how it's been so awful to live with the Dursleys. He doesn't remember much about how his parents died, except for a strange green light. He misses them and has fantasies about escaping from the Dursleys. Sometimes strangers seem to know him, but they always disappear.

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