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Browsing by Author "Jaakkola, Piia"

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  • Jaakkola, Piia (2016)
    Former studies have shown that reading fiction has an effect on our opinions and actions and how we view ourselves and other people. Therefore, it is relevant to observe the identity formation of fictional characters also from an educational point of view. The data of this study is from the novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone - the first book in one of the favorite series of the 21st century youth. The objective of this thesis is to describe and analyze the identity trajectory of a Gryffindor boy Neville Longbottom. This study examines the focal interaction moments of Neville’s trajectory. The essential research data was narrowed down to 14 events, which formed a linked pathway. The novel was also read as a whole to examine the world of wizards created by J. K. Rowling and, hence, to understand the context. The interaction events were analyzed by employing the social identity theory by Wortham (2006) and a discourse analysis method (Wortham & Reyes, 2015) based on it. The focus of this research was to analyze the signs of identity that occurred in the characters’ speech and behavior in selected data. The events were observed both separately and as a continuous pathway. The systematic analysis divided Neville’s identity formation in four chronological phases: the definition of the premises and expectations, the growth into a ‘poor member of Gryffindor’, the growth of agency and the recognition of Neville as a Gryffindor. The essential types of identity signs – deictics, reported speech and evaluative signs – referred to in this study oc- curred in every phase of the trajectory. However, the way these signs were used defined the direction Neville’s identity developed towards. In the beginning of the trajectory Neville’s identity was presented as worthless and outside of the group and his own speech placed him in a passive position. Later on Neville used reported speech to build a positive Gryffindor identity. Furthermore, deictics and evaluative signs were used by other charac- ters to recognize him as a Gryffindor. Compassion and encouragement from peers were crucial factors in the change of direction of the trajectory.