It should come as no surprise that, as a student newspaper, many of our editors are either enrolled in Western’s English program, or graduates of the program.
The structure of our Editorial Board discussion is to discuss the topic of the day and look at both sides of the issue, which on Wednesday, happened to be the new Harry Potter course.
Contradictory to what one letter-writer stated, the purpose of these discussions is not to “highlight the opinions of a mass body of students,” but rather to summarize the opinions of the 24 individuals who make up our Editorial Board.
It seems, however, that many readers had trouble getting past the headline, which posed the question whether or not a new Harry Potter course would be a “bird course.”
It cannot be denied that, to the average citizen, a course on Harry Potter with no further explanation will sound easier than a course titled Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy. The first part of our Editorial Board discussion sought to discuss the stereotypical assumptions university outsiders may have when hearing a Harry Potter course was in the works at Western.
“Some may say authors such as Shakespeare, Hemingway and Joyce provide the reader with a much deeper, denser text that actually involves and requires the aid of a professor to find the deeper meaning, while Harry Potter’s journey through Hogwarts is just too simplistic.”
However, the Editorial Board went against such assumptions, arguing that:
“Who’s to say there is not deeper meaning in Harry Potter as well? Although it was originally written for children, the later books were written when many of us were in our late teens, and the themes certainly reflect this. With adult themes such as challenging authority, self-sacrifice, tolerance and genocide, these books following the Boy who Lived should not be pushed aside as “just for children.” After all, the point of the English program is to develop your critical thinking skills and find the meaning in certain texts, so if the Harry Potter series accomplishes this, then clearly it has academic merit.
Additionally, English literature is always evolving, and what we study in English classes should evolve as well.”
Will the new Harry Potter course be a bird course? No. I believe our Editorial Board answered this question and provided evidence as to its academic merit. Will this course, at first glance, look like a bird course to university outsiders? Given reaction on other social media sites, it is fair to say that yes, many people may come to that conclusion. And indeed, some students may enroll in the course hoping it will be easy, as our concluding statement puts forward.
Unlike such outsiders, however, The Gazette does not hold the opinion this will be a bird course, and I believe we adequately answered the question posed in the headline.