Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Andrew Strycharski

First Advisor's Committee Title


Second Advisor's Name

Bruce Harvey

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Associate Professor and Program Director, School of Environment, Arts & Society

Third Advisor's Name

Paula Gillespie

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Associate Director and Director for the Center for Excellence in Writing


Harry Potter, Melanie Klein, mothers, psychoanalysis, fantasy, children's literature

Date of Defense



This thesis analyzes the mother-child relationship in the Harry Potter novels by using Melanie Klein’s object-relation based theory. I argue the mothers and their relationship with their offspring represent fragments of a whole complicated psyche. The characters are not analyzed as individuals, but instead as pieces, sometimes multiple pieces, of a whole psyche. When these characters and novels are taken together, a whole, multi-faceted person comes into view. Rowling depicts both good and bad mothers, and children who characterize different positions according to Klein. These positions are the paranoid-schizoid position with Harry Potter and the depressive position with Sirius Black and Rubeus Hagrid. Although the series suggests a developmental arc or a coming of age story within fantasy literature, there is no linear progression; instead, there are disruptive positions without development.





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