Many times, people may take things for granted! People who own house elves believe its their job to do chores/work for wizards. They just assume that this is their rightful place and take advantage of them. This reminds me of immigration in the US. For example, many times, businesses and factories will provide jobs for immigrants, but pay them low wages. Immigrants will do anything to stay in the US. Businesses take advantage of this.
It represents slavery. The elves, however, like their work because they know no other life. They enjoy working for masters that treat them kindly. Like the Hogwarts elves-- they are happy, because no one disturbs them (except Peeves and occasionally Fred and George) and people are kind to them. Some slaves, after the Civil War, didn't know what to do once their masters were killed, or they were freed, because they knew no other life. It's much the same here.
To me the house elves represent slavery. They were mistreated and abused. They "enjoyed" doing work for their "masters". They liked to be left alone to do their work and some elves even liked working. Some of the elves even hated the idea of becoming free. I think that overall these house elves are supposed to represent slavery.
To me, the elves represent something even lower than slavery- and much, much different. Slaves were forced into work, forced out of their homes, and worked hard to free themselves. Elves, like Dobby, could know freedom, but are scared of it. They cling onto this fabric of reality that they know, which is work. Not to bring up another subject, but there was once an episode of a show called Doctor Who where everyone had a fear inside a hotel room, but it wasn't the fear that was killing them. It was their belief. Sometimes, the thing that keeps you brave and keeps you fighting can also be the thing to hurt you. I think JK Rowling created the houselves to show oblivion. And that is the saddest part of their situation- it that they could do so much better. They could save their friends and be noble, but they're stuck doing the only thing they think they're good at- working under someone.
I think that they represent slavery throughout the books. It feels really awkward and weird though because unlike slaves, they don't work to try to gain freedom, but are fine with doing all of this work.
I don't think house elves represent slavery exactly. Slaves wanted to be free. House elves, besides Dobby, were terrified of freedom. I think that like the Goblins they have their own power completely different than wizards. Goblins know this and form racist, though maybe not untrue, ideas of wizards. House elves don't realize the extent of their powers. These are like races in that some feel other races are repressing their potential. While other races may feel there only choice is to work for others, meanwhile repressing themselves from their own unknown potential.
House elves somewhat i believe represented slavery but at the sametime was very diffrent because slavs wanted to be free but they couldn't be free. House elves are terrified about being free becasue they wouldn't know what to do andalso that freedom shouldn't b allowed becasue to b free is against them or sometihng. But They are diffrent from the wizarding world thats the only reason that they are forced to work for wizards becasue htey seem to be easy to handle and weak and since then they believe that be the truth even tough they have there own power that could help them be released from the grasp that wizards have on them
Okay, is it that hard to write "be" instead of "b" and spell because correctly? I'm sorry it just makes it hard to read. I think what you are saying is that they represent the racism, not slavery.
I think that the house elves represent slavery more than racism. A perfect example of rasism would be Draco when he calls Hemione Mudblood. House elves don't get paid, no personal items, and especially not clothes. The only thing that i find wierd about this is that the house elves are happy to be enslaved. It's almost like Hermione once said, its like they're brainwashed
I may not be in this group but...I personally believe J.K. created house elves to even further highlight the inequality between magical beings (such as centaurs, goblins, house-elves, etc...) and humans. Through out the books it is clear to me that relations between humans and magical beings aren't the best and there is underlying aggression. J.K. probably wanted to highlight the inequality between the wizards/witches and other magical beings to create a sort of allegory to the inequality there is between males and females, or Caucasians and minorities. There are probably more things J.K. may have wanted to represent but the ones listed above are the ones that come to the top of my mind first.