Peer Reviewed





Contrary to critics and scholars interested in the series’ therapeutic value, Harry Potter encourages post-9/11 subjects to neither heal nor mourn. Instead of taking up the potential pain and transformation in realizing and coming to terms with the deaths of his parents, Harry’s reattachment to the institution precludes his abilities to mourn constructively and his orphanhood effectively gets effaced over the course of the series. This article suggests that the therapeutic value ascribed to Harry Potter indicates a hope that it will serve as a pedagogical device to produce loyal, patriotic citizen-subjects that will hold on to rather than mourn loss.


orphan, Harry Potter, post-9/11, melancholia, therapeutic rhetoric

Total Pages

32 pages


Copyright © 2011 Kim Hong Nguyen


The paper is a modified chapter out of the author's dissertation. Special thanks to her dissertation committee: Bruce Gronbeck, David Depew, Barbara Biesecker, Gail Boldt, and David Hingstman. In addition, constructive conversations and critical readings were provided by Nathaniel Cordova, Megan Foley, Leslie Hahner, and Gerald Voorhees.

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