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Memorandum

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To: Dr. Newmark
From: Amanda Clark
Date: 2/12/16
Re: Document in Field Assignment
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The purpose of this memorandum is to rewrite a passage from a scholarly article in language that the
general public can understand.
Overview
In this memorandum, I have rewritten a technical passage in the article, Harry Potter and the
Commodity Fetish: Activating Corporate Readings in the Journey from Text to Commercial Intertext by
Jarrod Waetjen and Timothy A. Gibson published in 2007 for the Volume Four Communication and
Critical/ Cultural Studies. I will attempt to reconstruct the jargon within the article meant for
Intercultural Communication scholars into general terms in order for the general populous to be clear on
the articles purpose. I have included my revised passage, the original passage, and a discussion section
where I elaborate on what I changed in terms of formatting, defining, and linguistic changes.
Revised Passage
J.K. Rowling, throughout the Harry Potter series, consistently critiques the issues of unfairness and
superiority; however, the way she addresses the different levels of wealth within the wizarding world
has certain gaps. Specifically, the relationship between upper and lower class members is simply based
on the wealth category (poor, working class, or wealthy) the family is a part of rather than the
relationship between the different families. For example, the Malfoys wealth has no connection to the
Weasleys poverty; therefore, Rowling never suggests that the poverty of one household can be tied to
the wealth of another. Also, although Hagrid can be seen to represent a working class citizen through his
behavior and clothing, Rowling makes no reference to his relatives that work in the mills and mines. On
another note, to relate Rowlings limitations to a financial theory, Karl Marx defines the term surplus
value as the profit available when the amount of money produced from the business is greater than the
amount of money being spent on employees paychecks. Within the Harry Potter series, there seems to
be no representation of surplus value in the wizarding world. Merchandise simply appears on store
shelves, most likely by magic, and without any specific reason certain families have wealth while others
do not.
Original Passage
In the end, although she maintains a consistent critique of inequality and elitism throughout the series,
Rowling's treatment of the wizarding class systemas illustrated by her depiction of the house elves
suffers from a significant limitation. Perhaps because of the ambiguity of labor power in a world that
runs by magic, the picture of class relations in the wizarding world is more categorical than relational.

Rowling, in short, never suggests that the poverty of one family can be tied to the wealth of another.
The wealth of the Malfoys seems utterly disconnected from the relative poverty of the Weasleys.
Hagrid, for example, is clearly marked as working class by his vernacular and his clothing, but there are
no references to relatives who toil in the mills and mines of the wizarding world. To put the issue in
Marxian terms, there seems to be no systematic exploitation of labor and no extraction of surplus value
in Rowling's world. Commodities simply appear on store shelves, presumably by magic, and for some
unexplained reason, certain families appear to command wealth, while others do not. This unequal
distribution of wealth has consequences, to be sure, but the relations between class strata are not, so
far as we can tell, inherently antagonistic and contradictory.
Discussion
When recreating the scholarly article for the general public, I found it necessary to explain the economic
theory of Karl Marxs surplus value in order to provide a clear understanding of the relationship
between the theory and Rowlings distribution of wealth. I also found it important to simplify the
language and the sentence structure to make the message presented in the content is clear. For
example, I removed the word vernacular and substituted the word behavior. I felt that I needed to
change the vocabulary only applicable to intercultural communication to vocabulary applicable to all
individuals in order for the public to understand the meaning. For instance, I changed the intercultural
communication term elitism to the general word superiority. I also removed some sentences that I
found to be overwhelmingly repetitive and unnecessaryspecifically the last sentence explaining again
that the relationship between the families is not the root of the wealth distribution. Overall, I attempted
to clarify the content by summarizing the passage in simplistic language and concise sentence structure.