Quote 3

An experience fell to my lot this night of the Ball that I had never known in all my fifty years, though it is known to every flapper and student—the intoxication of a general festivity, the mysterious merging of the personality in the mass, the mystic union of joy.

This passage appears during the climactic Fancy Dress Ball, where Harry and Hermine dance with innumerable partners and relish the wild revelry to the fullest. Harry’s experience of blending with the community and feeling his personality dissolve into the collective mass represents the culmination of everything that Hermine and others have been trying to teach him. Harry’s absorption of the key lesson about the multifaceted nature of the soul has taken place, through the path of the body and through the kind of modern frivolities that Harry has spent a lifetime disdaining. Furthermore, these truths and this path do not belong to Harry alone but are properties and potentialities of people in general. Indeed, by realizing that his triumph is a common one, “known to every flapper and student,” Harry breaks the egotistical notion that he is specially gifted or destined. This final break with his previous insistence on the self enables Harry’s merging into the mass of people.