Social Class

J.K. Rowlings Social Success

Joan K. Rowling is a famous British writer and creator of Harry Potters character. She is extremely interesting in terms of her social class shift that brought her financial success and high social status. Due to her family values and despite life hardships she managed to create literary work that became famous all over the world. Therefore, the examination of Joan Rowlings background is necessary in terms of defining the conditions of upwardly mobile social class shift.

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Joan Rowling was born on July 31, 1965 in Cottage Hospital in Yate in the family of twenty-year-old Pete and Anne Rowling, who were married for four months at the time (Kirk). Joans parents Peter James Rowling and Anne Volant got acquainted when they were in the same compartment of the train following from London Station King Cross. Peter was a recruit and Anne served in the women’s auxiliary service of the Navy WREN (Womens Royal Naval Service) (Kirk). They got married when they were 19 years old. Joan’s parents settled in the north-eastern suburb of Bristol. It can be said that their first encounter determined their further family life in terms of frequent changes of living place that subsequently influenced Joan Rowling.

Upon her fathers military service, Joans parents got married after dating for several months and discovering Annes pregnancy (Kirk). In fact, they got married in the third semester of pregnancy. The wedding was held in the All Saints Parish Church near Annes parents home in the north of London on March 14, 1965 (Kirk). Pete, who had just served in the army, did not have a formal education, thus he could not count on a good job in London. Her mother also did not go to college, although she was from the middle-class educated family (Parker). If young people had stayed in the capital, they would have surely led a half-ruined existence. However, they acted differently: while waiting for Joans birth, they moved into one-story house at 109 Sundridge Park. Nearby there was a factory “Bristol Siddly”, where Pete Rowling managed to receive a place of an apprentice. 20 years later, after completing the advanced training courses, he became one of the leading engineers with a very solid salary in the Rolls-Royce concern. Although her parents enjoyed living in the rural area due to its landscapes and peaceful lifestyle, Rowling tends to conceal this birthplace and claims that her real birthplace is town of Chipping Sodbury famous for its antique shops (Kirk). Therefore, the conclusion can be made that social class issue is an important one for Rowling.

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Rowlings family later changed their living place. After Joans sister Dian was born in 1967, the family moved to 35 Nicholls Lane in Winterbourne that attracted Pete Rowling with its neighborhood (Kirk). The houses that were situated on the Lane were three-bedroom stone buildings, and most of the inhabitants were young families. Supposedly, Pete earned enough to let his wife stay at home and take care of children. While the father dedicated almost all the time to work, Anne focused on the daughters. She was an exemplary mother. Anne devoted all her attention to her children and spent much time reading them books. In fact, the Rowlings were considered by the neighbors as the family that possessed a lot of books (Kirk). Therefore, Joans love for reading originated in family traditions.

Further circumstances that took place in family life of Joan Rowling determined her future success and as the result change of social status. Being ill, she was presented a book The Wind in the Willow by her father that in future influenced the peculiarities of the characters and story elements of the famous books about Harry Potter. While living at 35 Nicholls Lane, the Rowlings made friends with another young family the Potters with two children nearly the same age as Joan and Dian. Although, later Joan claimed that the character of Harry Potter was not drawn from Ian Potter (the Potters son), she did admit that their close friendship, games of witches, and bizarre and happy childhood in their company inspired her for the story. Besides, she liked how the last name Potter sounds (Kirk). Definitely friendship played an important role in Joans identity formation, especially considering the fact that her own family was not so big.

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Another relocation determined new life changes. In the mid 1970s her family moved to the town of Tutshill, located a few kilometers from Yate (Fenske15). There she attended local primary school that was distinguished by its conservative character. Her mother later worked as a technician in Chemistry Department of Wyedean secondary school where Joan was studying (Parker). That time is distinguished by the presence of the teacher Lucy Shepherd in her life that inspired her to write (Fenske 15). It was a significant period in terms of Rowlings self-identification as the perspective personality.

Rowling’s dream was Oxford, where the girl wanted to learn her native language. However, Joan failed to gain admission. She successfully passed the entrance exams and her surname fell into the list of candidates. Nevertheless, she did not become a student at a prestigious university. It is rumored that it all happened because Joan studied at a free public school, whereas the vast majority of Oxford students are graduates of private colleges (Fenske 15). Thus, Rowling entered the University of Exeter in Devon on French language department and studied additionally Greek and Latin (Fenske 15). Although she was not characterized as an ambitious student, she could apply her knowledge in creation of the spells in the story about Harry Potter. After graduating from university, Joan worked as a secretary-interpreter. She spent one year in Paris teaching English, and after graduation in 1987 continued her professional activity in Amnesty International and in Chamber of Commerce in Manchester (Fenske 16). However, everything changed in three years.

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In 1991 her mother, who had been suffering from multiple sclerosis for 10 years, died. Then Joan decided to move to Portugal. Having settled in the coastal city of Porto, Rowling began to give English lessons and write. There she met her first husband Jorge Arantes, father of her first daughter with whom they got married in 1991 and divorced in 1993, after which she returned to her sister in Edinburgh (Fenske 16). The following years were the hardest ones, as Joan did not have professional education and had to feed her daughter. Therefore, she decided to apply for a one-year course in order to become French teacher. However, it was hard to combine writing a book with teaching career, so her sister encouraged her to leave teaching position. After getting a grant of eight thousand pounds from Scottish Art Council, Joan finished the first part of the book (Fenske 16). Finally, after some publishing struggles, Bloomsbury Childrens Book bought her story for four thousand dollars (Kaplan). In such way begins her success.

Now Joan is a successful writer that created literature brand. She earned 4 billion dollars for the first five story films. She is on the thirteenth place in the list of the wealthiest women of Great Britain (Kaplan). Rowling is considered the first billionaire that achieved her financial success by writing books (Watson and Kellner). Her current earnings estimated by Forbes magazine are ninety five million dollars a year (BBC News). She can definitely be described as upwardly mobile person as she moved from the middle to high social class due to her talent and hard work.

J.K. Rowling is an example of the amazing story of success and talent. It can be claimed that her success as the writer was determined by her familys appreciation of books and her childhood friends. Despite all hardships that she had to face being a single mother, she managed to create childrens story that praises kindness and generosity. Her current social status was achieved by her hard work and courage.

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