Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Literary Elements


Fantasy, Mystery, Gothic, Horror, Adventure, Heroic journey, Coming-of-Age

Setting and Context

Number Four, Privet Drive; The Burrow; London (Borgin and Burkes in Knockturn Alley, Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley, King’s Cross Station); Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (The Forbidden Forest, The Chamber of Secrets)

Narrator and Point of View

Third-person omniscient narrator, from Harry's point-of-view

Tone and Mood

Farcical, Wistful, Suspenseful, Despairing, Elated, Fun, Foreboding, Fanciful, Comical, Suspicious, Dark, Dramatic, Silly, Satirical, Scary, Witty, Terrifying, Puzzling, Triumphant, Adventurous, Heroic

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonist: Harry Potter. Antagonist: Voldemort

Major Conflict

1) Conflict between Lucius Malfoy's pure-blood ideology and Mr. Weasley's Muggle Protection Act.
2) Conflict between Salazar Slytherin's desire to limit admission to Hogwarts to pure-blood wizards and the other three founders' desire to admit Muggles and half-bloods.
3) Conflict between Lord Voldemort's desire to destroy Harry Potter and Harry's desire to stay alive.


Harry (with the help of Fawkes, Dumbledore’s pet Phoenix) battles Tom Riddle aka Lord Voldemort (and his enchanted basilisk) in the Chamber of Secrets.


“Get the snitch or die trying” p. 170
“The family is careful not to pass Dobby even a sock.” P. 177
“They can carry immensely heavy loads” P. 207
“Riddle was a friend he’d had when he was small” P. 234



According to "Literary Allusion in Harry Potter" by Beatrice Groves, the series contains literary allusions to Greek myth, Homer, Plato, Shakespeare, Ovid, Chaucer, Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Arthurian legend, and the Christian Bible.

A few examples:

A phoenix is a bird from Greek mythology. Fawkes the phoenix refers to Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the British Parliament, and is commemorated with bonfires and burnt effigies on Guy Fawkes day in Great Britain.

Percy's owl Hermes is named after Hermes, the messenger of the Gods in Greek mythology.

Minerva McGonagall is named for the Roman goddess of wisdom and war.




Harry Potter & Tom Riddle:

"There are strange likenesses between us, after all. Even you must have noticed. Both half-bloods, orphans,
raised by Muggles. Probably the only two Parselmouths to come to Hogwarts since the great Slytherin himself. We even look something
alike..." p. 317

Metonymy and Synecdoche

Hagrid's dog's name "Fang" is an example of a synecdoche, or a part standing for a whole.

Voldemort's name is a metonymy, because it is a word associated with what is being named: "Voldemort" means roughly, in French, "running from death."


The Whomping Willow: Ch. 5
The Car: Chs. 5 & 15
The mirror over the mantlepiece: p. 42
The Howler: p. 87
The basilisk: pp.120,137, 138, 290
The spiders: Ch. 15
The diary: pp. 240, 322, 329
The Mandrakes: p. 93
Hedwig: p. 104
The rogue Bludger: Ch. 10
The Sorting Hat: p. 315
Fawkes: Ch. 17