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An Insight on J.K. Rowling's Career

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“I know I’m not gonna make any money out of it. I know I’m not gonna be famous. And that is fine. All I ever want is to see the book published” (Rowling and Feldman). This is directly from J.K Rowling herself after her agent told her that her first book would be published. Now, according to Forbes.com, J.K Rowling is estimated to be worth at least one billion dollars, putting her in second place on Forbes’ scale of the Top Twenty Richest Women in Entertainment (Goldman and Blakeley). J.K Rowling essentially went from rags to riches by writing the Harry Potter series in the early 1990’s. Whether she knows it or not, she has had a major impact on children and adults everywhere throughout the past decade. Rowling has had a strong effect in the past decade due to being inspired as a child, being capable of writing seven bestselling books, and by having a strong impact on children and adults alike.

Many things found in Rowling’s books came from her own life. As a child, J.K Rowling really enjoyed telling stories. She was inspired by the dramatic plays that her and her younger sister created in their backyard. “I told her [my sister] a lot of stories growing up and sometimes I didn’t even have to sit on her to make her listen” (J.K Rowling Official Site). The Ford Anglia in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was put into the book with purpose for both Harry and Rowling. “That turquoise and white car meant FREEDOM and no more having to ask my father to give me lifts” (J.K Rowling Official Site). The Ford Anglia later reappeared in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as a flying one. To Harry this car meant being able to escape from the Dursely’s house and be with his wizarding friends. One can also find a deeper meaning in the death of Harry’s parents because J.K Rowling’s mother passed away as she was writing the first book in the series. She was better able to relate to Harry’s mother passing away and was able to add more emotion to that part of the series. Rowling recalls writing the Sorcerer’s Stone and how her favorite chapter became The Mirror of Erised due to the vulnerability it showed of losing a loved one (J.K Rowling Official Site). Rowling was better able to show her audience that she could in fact empathize with Harry because of this chapter in the first book.

As a young girl, Rowling knew that she wanted to become a writer. Her parents were never really encouraging about it because they believed it wouldn’t pay the bills. Instead, they encouraged her to study abroad and major in French at the University of Exeter (Rowling, J.K.) because they believed it would be more useful but it wasn’t. Rabbits were Rowling’s fixation when she first began writing at age six. Contrary to common belief, Rowling’s success story did not occur overnight. Harry Potter was not her first story. She wrote many unfinished novels and short stories before she really created an idea that she was satisfied with. After creating Harry Potter, Rowling was rejected by many publishing companies before Bloomsbury made an offer in 1996 (Biography J.K. Rowling). Her story was clearly not an overnight lucky strike.

Before the idea of a boy wizard appeared to her on a train ride, Rowling took many different jobs and had very many struggles. Her fondest job was working for Amnesty International (J.K Rowling Biography). This fondness has caused Rowling to continue to support Amnesty International with donations in their campaign against human rights abuses. After the death of her mother, Rowling found herself in Portugal teaching English. A bad divorce led to Rowling moving back to England in 1994 with her young daughter while still trying to write (Rowling and Feldman). Rowling then struggled as a single mother to write and continue to support her daughter because she had no one else to take care of her child. She persevered through this challenge and was able to continue to write
Rowling’s ability to write even through her struggles really paid off because she was able to publish seven books that have changed an entire generation of people. In August 1996, J.K. Rowling received a call from her agent Christopher, informing her that Bloomsbury (a small publishing company in England) was offering publish her book. She accepted the deal, but was encouraged to continue working as a teacher because writing is not a career that pays well. Rowling had contemplated quitting because she couldn’t afford to support her daughter and keep writing. “I thought it would be selfish for my daughter if I could earn a better living doing something else… However much I loved writing, she still needed new shoes. If writing wasn’t helping to buy new shoes, then it just felt very self-indulgent,” she said (Rowling and Feldman). Rowling’s dream was to write, but she felt she was selfish because she couldn’t make a living off of writing to support her child. She only wanted enough money to support her daughter and continue to write. She often spent her days at cafes, writing on scraps of napkins and having to borrow pens from strangers due to the fact that she couldn’t afford to buy her own. It was Bloomsbury’s offer that opened a door of opportunities for her. After one thousand books were published, Rowling received a grant from the Scottish Arts Council and she also received a large offer from Scholastic for publishing rights in the U.S (Biography J.K Rowling). The grant and offer helped her continue writing full time.

Although Rowling’s books have been extremely popular in the past decade, the magic- filled pages have also created a wave of controversy in the religious community. Her books were denounced by clerics all over the world and the Pope even went as far as saying that the books had the potential to disturb the soul (Gibbs).One would imagine that this caused the book sales to drop, but it didn’t. Instead Rowling received harassment from people who did not support her books. In one instances, she was harassed in New York City by a very religious man because he believed she was encouraging a loss of religion and was ant-Christian (Gibbs). Contrary to this belief, Rowling is in fact very religious. She found curiosity in religion as a child and her seventh book in the Harry Potter series actually quoted the Bible to pass on a strong moral message (Gibbs). She wasn’t aiming to force religion into people’s lives; she just felt that that particular verse fit the theme of the books. Rowling strongly believes that everyone has the right to their own beliefs about religion, so she made sure to make clear that the morals in her books are not exclusively Christian.

J.K Rowling has inspired adults and children alike. The books have led to the creation of more than 300 “wizard” rock bands, fan sites, and organizations for the greater good. One of these organizations is the Harry Potter Alliance, a group founded with the motto “The weapon we have is love” (Gibbs). Their mission aims in raising awareness in the campaign to end genocide in Darfur. This campaign has reached numerous people from Australia to North America (Gibbs). This is anti-genocide campaign proves how strong Rowling’s message is because the entire series is based on a struggle for power. Children everywhere have also been inspired to read more. She has sold more than 320 million books in the past decade and all have been best sellers (Compton’s Britannica). These books have also been translated in over 60 languages as well because children all over the world are eager to find the magic. Her books have inspired an entire generation of kids, teens, and adults to read and change the world due to the values found in them.

J.K. Rowling has revolutionized the literary world forever. Her talent has been proven with the seven book series she wrote, which all began on a long train ride. Rowling’s inspiration as a child, ability to write, and her strong impact on children and adults have forever changed the world. Her books have inspired many children to wait for their acceptance letters to Hogwarts. At least I know that they have kept me waiting.











Bibliography
Gibbs, Nancy. "J.K. Rowling." Person of the Year 2007 19 Dec. 2007. Web. 19 Jan. 2011. <http://time.com/time/specials/2007/personoftheyear/article/>.
Goldman, Lea, and Kiri Blakeley. "The Top 20 Rishcest Women In Entertainment." Forbes.com. Forbes, 18 Jan. 2007. Web. 30 Jan. 2011.
Pettinger, R. "Short Biography JK Rowling." J.K Rowling Biography. 27 Apr. 2007. Web. 19 Jan. 2011.
Rowling, J.K, and Roxanne Feldman. "The Truth about Harry." Gale Group. Web. 21 Jan. 2011.
"Rowling, J.K." Compton's by Britannica. Vol. 6. Print.
Rowling, J.K. J.K. Rowling Official Site. JK Rowling. Web. 19 Jan. 2011.



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