Joan Acocella And Harold Bloom: A Critical Analysis

1008 Words5 Pages
Ever since the first came out in 1997, the Harry Potter novels have been a point of debate between readers, with some instantly attaching to the series, while others have been disgusted by each and every novel in the series. This major split seems to be between older traditionalist readers who are against the novels, and younger readers that see the books for what they are as entertaining and appropriate for young readers. Regardless of any single person’s viewpoint, the books rapidly became popular and weaved their way into pop culture. As a result, critics rushed to get their reviews of the novels out and give their opinion on the novels sweeping the world by storm. Two of these critics, Joan Acocella and Harold Bloom, were among these critics…show more content…
Bloom has an Ivy League background, as he attended Cornell University as well as Yale University. At the time of his writing, Bloom was a professor at Yale University, one of the most prestigious universities in the world. All of this education gave Bloom the opportunity to read some of the most renowned pieces of writing in the world and clearly become a literary traditionalist. However, this knowledge gives Bloom a large personal ego that enters into his writing. He portrays his ego when referring to the readers of the Harry Potter series, assuming that the readers “simply will not read superior fare, such as Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’ or the ‘Alice’ books of Lewis Carroll” and seemingly belittling anyone that would read a Harry Potter novel as not understanding great literature. As a result, any reader of Bloom’s review could easily feel offended and not want to continue reading the review. This use of an ad hominem attack harms the quality of the writing as it offends the reader and does not give any support of an argument, but instead is only intended to offend readers of Harry…show more content…
In his critique of the series, Bloom states that “in an arbitrarily chosen single page - page 4 - of the first Harry Potter book, I count seven cliches” but fails to back this up with any examples of a cliche on that page or in the book at all. This creates a sense of uncertainty with the reader, as it is not clear whether what Bloom is saying is true or if he is stretching the truth to further is argument. Acocella, on the other hand, uses far less ethos in her writing compared to Bloom, instead focusing on logos through facts and interpretations of the writing at hand. Rather than attempting to compare the Harry Potter novels with all time great novels, Acocella gives a review of the novel not meant to discredit the readers, but rather state what was good about the novels, and what could be improved. As a result, Acocella conveys a largely neutral tone when giving her review, unlike Bloom who only saw the negatives and never considered anything the novels did well. Acocella delivers an engaging and interesting review, as she uses specific evidence to support her claim rather than attacking those opposing her viewpoint as Bloom does. In her writing, Acocella states her claim that “the Potter story is a fairy tale” then gives direct support from the text to state traditional fairytale devices. One of the many examples of Acocella supporting her
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