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Well, this is a Harry Potter-themed blog, so I supposed I'd better make an actual post about Harry Potter!

Magic is, of course, the core driving force in the Harry Potter books (besides, y'know, love and death and Voldemort and such), but J.K. Rowling's approach to magic in a children's book is different than what one might expect. Typically, magic spells in children's books will rhyme, but the world of Harry Potter uses spells like "Evanesco" (Liquid-Vanishing Spell), "Petrificus Totalus" (Full-Body Bind Curse), or "Expecto Patronum" (Patronus Charm). While the words might have a sort of rhythm to them, they don't necessarily need to rhyme. In fact, the only instance in the books where a spell rhymed was a failed, fake spell in the first book. Ron Weasley's brothers tell him to try a rhyming incantation to change the color of his rat, Scabbers, as you can hear in this amazing audiobook rendition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, as read by Stephen Fry:

(skip to 7:40)
Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow
Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow!

The spell does not work, leaving Scabbers as dull and grey as before.

So, if rhyming isn't good enough for Harry Potter, why is it good enough for other works of fiction? Why do their spells so often have rhythm and rhyme? They don't even have to be children's stories; series like Charmed had entire episodes devoted to rhyming incantations. There are entire websites dedicated to spells, many of which rhyme. Even William Shakespeare himself had rhyming incantations in the famous "Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble" speech given by the three witches in Hamlet.

Part of this may be a tradition; spells seemed to have always rhymed, so why break away from what both you  and the audience are familiar with? Rhymes and rhythm do seem to add a layer of mysticism and intention to a phrase, which may be part of what led to the connotation of magic.

So, do they have to rhyme? Not at all! While the rhyme and rhythm do add a certain flair to a spell, they are by no means necessary. They sure do make it sound nice, though.

And remember, it's levi-OH-sa, not levi-oh-SA.

The 1920's was a time of change. The Stock Market plummeted, women's style revolved, and the Prohibition was issued. Obtaining alcohol became difficult to Americans. So nightclubs called "speakeasies" began. Speakeasies were established so people could enjoy socializing while drinking alcohol.

One of the most famous Speakeasies in Harlem, New York was Cotton Club Besides drinking and socializing, Cotton Club was a hub for jazz music and entertainment. Though Blacks were the source of entertainment, musicians, singers and dancers, whites were allowed to come and enjoy. Performers included Louis Armstrong, Cole Porter, Ethel Waters, Bing Crosby, and many others.

In 1935, Cotton Club was forced to shut down because it was seen as unsafe for whites. It re opened in September of 1936 and ran until 1940! Attending these night clubs allowed whites to talk with blacks and drink, something that was not allowed at the time. Jazz became a sensation in the 1920's so much that the 20's was also referred to as "The Jazz Age." The existence of the nightclub was brought back to life with Francis Ford Coppola's film The Cotton Club .

Children are exposed to poetry from a very early age, whether intentional or not. Children are entranced and delighted by rhythm and rhyme, two very common aspects of children's poetry. The most well-known children's poet is, of course, Dr. Seuss. With a plethora of books such as The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss has enchanted children for years. However, although the good doctor is famous for his nonsensical and fun words such as "diffendoofer" or "fizza-ma-wizza-ma-dill", and his childlike plots such as running away to the circus, or counting fish, his books often contain a deeper meaning that may not be immediate to the reader, regardless of age.

A great example of this is the ever-famous Oh The Places You'll Go!, published on July 20th, 1990. The book speaks of the long journey the reader has ahead of them; the journey through life. To a child, this may be a fun adventure through a multicolored landscape, but to an older reader, the journey that "you" (the protagonist) take through the book becomes an allegory for their own life; they can travel through a whole spectrum of places and ideas (physically or metaphorically), or they can be stuck in "The Waiting Place," where nothing ever occurs because everyone is too afraid to act. The book can easily be read as a motivational/warning speech to anyone, at any age; don't be afraid of the journey ahead, you'll find your way there. Oh The Places You'll Go! is a common graduation present for high-schoolers in the United States and Canada, as a reference to how many different ways their life can go now that they've finished school.

Dr. Seuss's "Waiting Place," where everyone is always 
waiting for someone else to do something.

Does all poetry gain deeper meaning as the reader grows older? Not necessarily; some poems about hopping on your father are simply poems about hopping on your father. But certain poems can be read with a much greater meaning, that only becomes visible once the reader has gained age, experience, and wisdom. And with an author like Dr. Seuss, readers are delighted by the newfound message, 98-and-3/4% guaranteed.

When you look at pictures from the 19th century, and notice what Americans wore,it is not your normal everyday outfit you would wear to High School. Females in the 19th century wore long gowns that showed little skin. Sounds awful? Well it even gets worse! Along with these large gowns women would often wear a corset would shrink the waist line. Eighteen inch waists and broken bones was the common outcome to wearing corsets.

please watch the video and look at a in depth fashion show of the clothing during the 19th century:

But why the change in fashion?
Today the normal high schooler would wear the shortest of skirt they own and the lowest shirt so they can show off their "skin." Well, not all high school girls dress this way, but why in the 19th century were women not allowed to wear different clothing.
Women had to wear the same style dress, but to keep warm they would wear more layers and accessorize with fur trimmed pelisses and over-sized fur muffs.

Yes the clothing choice was different compared to what women wear in this era, but fashion is always changing. Fashion trends come and go, but sometimes older trends are brought back. Who knows maybe the victoria dress will come back in style.

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