42 Angel, Witch, or Monster?

Tucker MIlwrath

Disclaimer: I love Harry Potter and I’m not hating on it. Just doing homework.

While reading Gilbert and Gubar’s essay on the monster/angel theory, I thought of one person and one person only; Hermione Granger. This is mostly due to how I perceive this theory as a whole. Basically, a woman (or girl in this example) is defined as an angel in literature based on her ability and desire to please male characters and she’s a monster if she doesn’t really care about what they want and has anything that resembles a personality (I apologize for the lack of scholarly language). The chapter discusses Paradise Lost and yeah, I get why. Eve doesn’t really do anything except agree with Adam. But when she does do her own thing, she messes everything up. Paints a lovely picture doesn’t it? Anyways, Hermione Granger does her own thing but she definitely doesn’t ruin things. In fact, she usually makes most scenarios infinitely better. But in the first book, Ron disagrees strongly for quite some time.

From the first moment we meet her, Hermione is what old literary men define as a monster; she has a personality, disses everyone with her brain, and just generally does things. Obviously she and Ron are 11 so there’s not a ton of sexual stuff (that’s later in the series) but verbally, maybe she could be more angelic. The text says “[t]he arts of pleasing men, in other words, are not only angelic characteristics; in more worldly terms, they are proper acts of a lady,” (816). A proper lady wouldn’t dare correct a man on his pronunciation.

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If Hermione were a proper lady, she’d sit on sidelines cheering “Ron you were sooo close!” and “You can do it!” according to Gubar and Gilbert’s theory.

She is so hated by Ron that he says it’s a wonder Hermione has any friends. It’s only later, after Harry and Ron save her from a troll, that Ron begins to kind of like her. And after reading about the angel/monster theory, is it only because she threw herself under the bus for him?


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The Student Theorist: An Open Handbook of Collective College Theory Copyright © 2018 by Tucker MIlwrath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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