CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS?
I mean, can we just talk about how this parallels the actual education system? Where they’re so concerned about teaching us things like logarithms and graphing that we don’t know shit about what’s actually out there in the adult world, like doing taxes or writing checks or anything? I mean, “It is the view of the Ministry that a theoretical knowledge will be sufficient to get you through your examinations, which after all, is what school is all about.” School children are often under the impression that getting A’s in all their classes ensures a successful future, but really, it’s so ignorant because the real world isn’t just one big question-and-answer paper. There is so much more to the world than being able to give back information like some kind of super-computer, and brainwashing children into thinking that theory is key is just going to lead to a bunch of children falling flat on their faces when they’re pushed into the adult world and feel as if everything new they try to do is wrong because it wasn’t taught to them step-by-step. I just really love Harry’s line, “And how is theory supposed to prepare us for what’s out there?” because I feel as if sometimes we just learn things for the sake of knowing them, despite whether it is actually useful. Yes, school is important, and getting bad grades isn’t a good way to start your future, but it’s so much more than that, you see.
this sounds a lot like something Hermione would say
I think that’s the reason why everyone has such strong negative feelings toward Umbridge (as a person, not a character). I can’t tell you how many times I heard people say that they wanted Umbridge to die more than Voldemort. And I must say that I feel the same.
Voldemort is a racist dictator. While these have existed, and still do, the majority of us don’t live under such a tyrant. We’ve heard about them in history books and on the news- but they’re already dead or on the other side of the world. While we can be horrified at the terror such a person can spread and how, well, evil they can be, a character of this archetype doesn’t strike a personal chord with most of us.
But Umbridge does. As stated before, she represents everything that we hate about the public school system. Most of us know or have a teacher, professor, principal, or school administrator who, to probably a lesser degree, personifies what Umbridge is saying. They teach only to the test, or tell teachers to do so, they insist on including useless things in their curriculums, they PASS LAWS SO THAT SUCH A SCHOOL SYSTEM CAN CONTINUE. This is something that affects nearly every public school in the US, (and I’m guessing the UK as well). Nearly every student has to go through school learning things that they will never use in real life and that in no way prepare them for the real world, just so the various boards of education can use the higher test scores as ‘proof’ that we’re ‘smarter’ than other states, countries, etc., and therefore deserve more funding.
We hate Umbridge so much (again, as a person, not a character) because she represents a villain we all have in our own lives. Possibly every single person who has read this book can connect with the frustration Harry and the other students feel.
We hate Umbridge so much because everything she is, everything she represents, is very real and very personal to every single one of us.