Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
J. K. Rowling
Contributed by Sung Miele
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Chapter 3
Summary

Harry had to endure a long period of punishment after the snake incident at the zoo. By the time he was allowed out of the cupboard again, the school summer holidays had started.

Dudley was up to his usual antics of breaking his expensive birthday presents and getting full use out of his racing bike, knocking down Mrs. Figg in the process.

Harry tried to stay away from Dudley’s gang who were all big and stupid, Dudley being the “biggest and stupidest of the lot”.

In September Dudley would start school at Uncle Vernon’s old school, Smeltings. Harry was enrolled at the local comprehensive Stonewall High.  Harry was quite pleased at being separated from Dudley.

Whilst the Dursleys lavished money on Dudley getting him kitted out for the start of school, Harry was to receive old clothes died to the correct color for the Stonewall High uniform.  Part of Dudley’s uniform was a knobbly stick and he was already making full use of this implement.

Harry was beginning to have second thoughts about his first day at Stonewall High.  His uniform would be “like he was wearing bits of old elephant skin”.

One day when the mail arrived there was a letter for Harry addressed “Mr. H. Potter, The Cupboard under the Stairs, 4 Privet Drive, Littlewhinging, Surrey.”  Harry was not allowed to see the contents, and Aunt Petunia was aghast at these. Harry shouted that he wanted his letter, but Uncle Vernon hurled abuse at him.  Aunt Petunia was concerned that “they”, whoever they were, were watching the house. Uncle Vernon made the decision to ignore the letter.

Then something strange happened.   Uncle Vernon decided that, as Harry was now getting bigger, he should move to Dudley’s second bedroom, much to Dudley’s dismay. He went into a tantrum, concerned that he would not have room for all his toys.

Next day, another letter arrived for Harry addressed “Mr. H. Potter, The Smallest Bedroom, 4 Privet Drive ’’” Now the Dursleys knew they were being watched, but Uncle Vernon had a plan, but so did Harry.  Harry decided he would intercept the postman before he reached the house. So, at first light, he crept down the stair only to stand on his Uncle Vernon who was sleeping on the doormat in a sleeping bag. Uncle Vernon then nailed up the letterbox.

Next day, no fewer than twelve letters arrived for Harry.  They had been pushed under the door, rammed into the door sides and some forced through the small window in the downstairs toilet.

The next day, twenty four letters arrived, some arrived via the milkman rolled up inside with the eggs, and Aunt Petunia shredded these in her food mixer.

The next day was Sunday, so there would be no mail, but Uncle Vernon underestimated his opponents.  Whilst he was setting the fire, something whizzed down the chimney and hit him on the back of the head, followed by about forty letters that pelted him like bullets.  Uncle Vernon’s next plan was to run. They packed a few belongings and drove away in the car. They eventually arrived at a hotel.

Next day, the landlady handed them a letter addressed to “Mr. H. Potter, Room 17, Railview Hotel”.  It was clear that Uncle Vernon was under severe stress and he took his family to a small island on which was perched “the most miserable little shack you could imagine”. The weather forecast was for a storm that night, which made Uncle Vernon feel cut-off and secure. The family tried to sleep in the shack as the storm rolled outside. In the middle of the night they woke from their fitful sleep to hear someone knocking at the door.

Analysis

During this chapter the Dursleys completely lose it, due to the bombardment of letters addressed to Harry. 

The supernatural society has been keeping a watch on Harry and they know his every move, and the situation that he lives in.

The Dursleys try to control the situation, but they fail to realize that they cannot outwit this hidden force, and their behavior ends up being totally irrational, and they find themselves on a deserted island faced with an unknown presence knocking at their door in the middle of a storm at night.

The Dursleys discrimination against Harry also reaches its peak in this Chapter. Dudley is to go to a private school where he will wear a uniform of maroon tailcoats, orange knickerbockers and a flat straw hat or boater. In contrast, Harry is to attend the local comprehensive, wearing dyed clothes to pass as school uniform.

Harry is still very much subjugated by the Dursleys. He is curious to know who wishes to write to him, but he has no rights in this household and is being kept in the dark concerning his birthright.

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