L.I: Recognise flashbacks and understand why they’re used.
Read Chapter 1 & the start of Chapter 2 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (book 1). The book is set at the time when Harry is nearly 11. The first chapter is a flashback. There are many ways to provide flashback information, look at the list you created yesterday, e.g. dreams at start of Book 1 and in Book 4, diary entries in Book 2, memories, time-travel devices, magic.
Using the following extracts from Chapter 2 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. You need to decide which of these are flashback memories and which are happening ‘now’ when Harry is nearly 11.
Write a short paragraph explaining why it is necessary for the author to use memories at the start of the book.
Read these extracts from Chapter 2 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Are they flashbacks to Harry’s earlier life or events that are taking place now? How do we know?
‘It was a very sunny Saturday and the zoo was crowded with families. The Dursleys bought Dudley and Piers large chocolate ice-creams at the entrance and then, because the smiling lady in the van had asked Harry what he wanted before they could hurry him away, they bought him a cheap lemon ice lolly. It wasn’t bad either, Harry thought, licking it as they watched a gorilla scratching its head and looking remarkably like Dudley, except that it wasn’t blond.’
‘Nearly ten years had passed since the Dursleys had woken up to find their nephew on the front step, but Privet Drive had hardly changed at all. The sun still rose on the same tidy gardens, it crept into their living room, which was almost exactly the same as it had been on the night when Mr Dursley had seen the report about the owls.’
‘Another time, Aunt Petunia had been trying to force him into a revolting old jumper of Dudley’s (brown with orange bobbles). The harder she tried to pull it over his head, the smaller it seemed to become, until it might have fitted a glove puppet!’
‘He’d lived with the Dursleys almost ten years, ten miserable years, as long as he could remember, ever since he had been a baby and his parents had died in that car crash.’
‘A wild looking old woman dressed all green had waved merrily at him once on a bus. A bald man in a very long purple coat had actually shaken his hand in the street. The weirdest thing about all these people was the way they seemed to vanish the second Harry tried to get a second glance.’
‘At that moment the telephone rang and Aunt Petunia went to answer it while Harry and Uncle Vernon watched Dudley unwrap the racing bike, a cine-camera, a remote-control aeroplane, sixteen new computer games and a video recorder. He was ripping the paper off a gold wristwatch when Aunt Petunia came back from the telephone, looking both angry and worried.’
‘Once, Aunt Petunia, tired of Harry coming back from the barber’s looking as though he hadn’t been at all, had taken a pair of scissors and cut his hair so short he was almost bald except for his fringe, which she left ‘to hide that horrible scar’. Dudley had laughed himself silly at Harry, who spent a sleepless night imagining school the next day, where he was already laughed at for his baggy clothes and Sellotaped glasses. Next morning, however, he had got up to find his hair exactly as it had been before Aunt Petunia had sheared it off.’