November 21, 2005

Why I Don't Update Anymore

They told me education in India was very different from education abroad. While the Indian education system only confuses you, the Western education system gives you immense amounts of clarity. Over the last two months, I have realised how true these statements are.

Back home in my PG days, but the end of the first month, I could read almost every lecturer’s thoughts, complete their sentences, and understand what they were saying. Here, I never know what is going to hit me the next second, and when it does, I do not know what it is. I am bombarded with phrases like “depsychologise hyperindividualism” at the rate of five per second, and all I can figure out is that it is still English, and has not morphed into Greek…

The Indian education system had thoroughly confused me, by making me think I wanted more education. Under the bright lights of Western education, it is abundantly clear to me that education is no longer for me, nor I for it.

There must have been a cheaper way to find out, but unfortunately this is how things have turned out. Profuse apologies to my sponsors. I could jump off a bridge and put an end to the expenditure, but I know you are too lazy to get the insurance money, so I’ll live and repay you by and by.


Spent the day thinking about sexual politics in Harry Potter. Here goes:

Harry and Ron are the ideal couple, balancing out each other perfectly. Harry’s rescuing Ron at every stage makes him the protector “masculine” partner, while the sporadic strength of the “help meet” Ron males him the “feminine” part of the couple. Homosexuality being out of the purview of children’s literature, the figure of Ginny, Ron’s property in the Muggle-like patriarchal structure of Wizardhood, is the symbolic bearer of the Harry-Ron love. Her status as rescuee in book two cements her dependence on Harry. Her diluted feminine wiles make her a Post-Feminist Romantic heroine who “plays the game” to get her man.

Hermione Granger is the quintessential Feminist figure stuck in a Post-Feminist paradigm. Being obviously too bright to play second fiddle as a hero’s love interest, her possible romantic link with Harry is ruled out. She is symbolically kept out of the hierarchy of heroism by making her a “friend-figure”. In the triangular Harry-Ron-Hermione friendship, she has a two-step function. The first is to preclude the threat of a homosexual liaison between the two male figures, and the second is to formalise Ron’s heterosexuality by being pitched as his romantic partner.

As an individual, Hermione is interesting to explore. Lest her intelligence overshadow the male hero, it is made irritating through people’s responses to her words and actions. As she passes into puberty, she is constructed as a hormonal wreck, being pulled towards the hysterical female stereotype by what are socio-psychologically constructed as her “impulses”, and being pinned in the “masculine” world of the intellect where she has always belonged as a “transgresser”. Being a Mudblood, her racial ambiguity underlines her dubious performance of gender roles, and makes her a disturbingly grey and unsettled character. As the story progresses, her hormones take over her intellect more and more often, and one fears that she will dissipate into a helpless woman who underplays her intellectual prowess to fit the role of subordination to Ron, the non-hero. Over six books, she has turned into “Hormonie”, which is a big letdown for the Feminist cause.


Or then again, maybe I should throw myself off the bridge. I know at least half a dozen people who are itching to give me a gentle shove now!


Ash said...

Shucks woman, looks like the cold London tempertures are freezing your circuits !
Solution ? Plizz to be reading some Calvin and Hobbes

sponsors said...

jumping off the bridge is not covered in first year of policy so we have an excuse for not claiming.The temprature being below zero degree we can not even ask you to Chill.Relax and enjoy,lectures are a part of education the total experience is what matters.


Deepak said...

"Hormonie" LOL!

vishnuvyas said...

hmm. guess JKR never thought of that!

√úbermaniam said...

Please be reading nothing for a very long time :-)

Anonymous said...

Gosh! Academics are such killjoys! I really hope you didn't mean all this seriously but in the spirit of sarcasm or something?

First Rain said...

Goodness gracious! Is that what education does to you? It transfigures your way of looking at Harry Potter so drastically that suddenly Austin Powers begins to seem subtle!

neha vish said...

Post-puberty - all the Rowling characters have settled into their respective Gender Roles haven't they? It's very clear who the sidekick is. And any sign of female genius is quickly neutralized by some sort of moodiness attributed to the character.

I can see why that might bug you. It bugs me. I hate it when kids watch stuff that reiterates gender roles and makes them think like they need to toe the lines drawn.

Sastry said...

Sexual politics...thats hilarious!!!Dont worry, I will personally make sure that more Charlies Angels kinda flicks are produced...but this time there ought to be a guy in the team as well, just to formalise the angels' heterosexuality....!!!

Supremus said...

Hormonie - ROFL! That was good!

I have stayed away from all 6 boooks so far, and do intend to stay away from 7th as well.


Aditya Bidikar said...

Effing brilliant! And so true. The only place where Hermione's intelligence really came to the fore was in Azkaban. Nowadays, she's basically the 'square'. And you're right, the gender roles are now in place, and they certainly are disappointing for something that used to have promise.

MumbaiGirl said...

Wonderful post...funny and true at the same time!

StupendousMan said...

wow!. and again, WOW!. I'm acutely speechless. what a cool post!! I'm definitely coming back here!!!