Study Questions and Essay Topics for
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

-- Review resource topics --

1 -- Authors usually spend a great deal of time "wordsmithing" the first sentence of a book, in order to make it grab the readers attention and interest — definitely the first paragraph. Describe the "Chamber of Secrets'" first sentence and tell how it makes you feel. "Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive."

2 -- Even though the author had planned 'Chamber' as part of a series from the outset, this is a sequel book with some of the same characters and they have undoubtedly 'grown' over the past year. List four or five adjectives which describe how each of the following have changed over the year:

  1. Harry Potter
  2. Dudley Dursley
  3. Draco Malfoy

3 -- In many novels, it is the character's own actions which create the tension, conflict or trials that they must then solve. Readers tend to identify with characters who make the 'right' decisions most of the time. The author had Harry and Ron steal a car when platform 9 3/4 was closed to them. Give four alternative choices they could have made in order to solve their problem; and tell your opinion about which of the five would have been the 'best.'

4 -- Character development, for an author, is not only about describing physical characteristics; but, also about describing the decisions they make and how they interact with other characters. For the following characters, first tell whether the character was a friend or enemy to Harry, then describe how Harry treated them. Are there any adjectives on your list which are the same for all four?

  1. Dobby
  2. Moaning Myrtle
  3. Nearly-Headless Nick
  4. Colin Creevey

5 -- Making value judgments about others in an arrogant, condescending way, then acting in a way which causes them embarrassment or harm is called --- Bigotry. It is similar to being "prejudiced" but worse. List three "bigots" found in the story and give reasons for your assessment.

6 -- In your own words define "Loyalty" and give three examples of it from the book.

7 -- Riddle claimed that he and Harry were a lot alike. List three similarities and three differences between the two.

8 -- Harry will grow from 11 to 17 years old, if the author completes her intended series of seven books. This time in a child's life is called: "coming of age." Tell how you think Harry changed over his second school year. Give examples and state your reasoning.

9 -- In fiction, themes are basically: the book's view about life and how people behave, not intended to teach or preach, and are rarely presented directly. In other words, you must figure out the theme yourself. List the three or four most significant (to you) themes in Chamber of Secrets, and give your rationale for selecting them.

10 -- Choose a favorite character from the book whom you would like to have over to dinner and tell why; then write five important questions that you would like to ask them.

Extra Credit -- Harry was falsely accused of several things by different characters through the year. Tell which would hurt Harry's feelings more and why.

  1. "He's doing you know what" by Dudley
  2. Getting on the Quidditch team only because he was famous by Draco
  3. Being an attention-seeking rule-breaker by Snape
  4. Being a publicity-seeker by Lockhart
  5. "You killed my cat because you know I'm a squib" by Filch
  6. "You're the heir of Slytherin" by Ernie
  7. "You're killing off students and think it's quite fun" by Peeves
  8. "You and I are a lot alike" by Tom Riddle