Bildungsroman Paper

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Beau Goergen
Period 7
3-12-12
Research Paper Rough Draft
When reading a book, do you ever feel like you have already read a plot like this before? Do you sometimes wonder if you have even read this book already? There are very similar patterns in writing books and producing movies. There are also very similar characters in these books and movies. One type of storyline in particular is the bildungsroman plot. This is the coming to age novel. Bildungsroman books trace back to Germany in the early 1900’s (Cengage). A bildungsroman story generally contains a protagonist who learns and grows as time progresses. This growth can be physical or moral. There are many stories containing this plot. An author tries to send a message out to the reader about life and how you can change. The question is, do all bildungsroman novels have the same outcome? I think that protagonists in bildungsroman stories all have a similar, successful turnout at the end of the story.

In this growth novel, there are many things that affect the protagonist. The main character is generally affected most by peers. The people around them can change the way they act, think, and appear. An example of that would be Joe Dirt. This comedy is about a young boy (David Spade) searching for his parents that left him in the Grand Canyon when he was little. During his search, he comes across a wide variety of people that help him along the way. After the long journey, he comes to realize that his family isn’t missing, but they are right there in front of him. He learns that his friends are the ones that truly care for him. One emotion that can heavily affect growth in a bildungsroman novel is love. Love is present in some form in almost every bildungsroman book or movie. Forrest Gump is a great example of how love can direct the outcome of a movie. When Forrest was young, he met a young girl on a bus to school named Jenny. As soon as he met her he said, “She was the most beautiful girl I ever did saw” (Groom). As time progressed, He and Jenny are separated by war, fame, fortune, drugs, and political movements of the 60’s. All this still could not keep them apart because of the love they shared for each other. Gump’s decisions in many parts of the movie are motivated by his passion for Jenny. He soon reunites with Jenny and marries her. This shows that love can almost take over the character and form it to work with the person he or she loves. The antagonist can also form the main character. Generally, the antagonist is trying to stop the protagonist from growing in a bildungsroman novel. A fine example of this would be Harry Potter. Harry is a young wizard who is notoriously known for surviving a deadly spell casted by the most evil wizard ever. Harry lives his whole life trying to discover more and more about Voldemort. As he learns more, he starts dealing with issues that lead him up to killing Voldemort. Voldemort tries to kill Harry in several different attempts. He uses trickery, persuasion, and built up rage in Harry. Harry learns many things along his journey at Hogwarts. He builds his beliefs and values around his constant battle between good and evil. This shows how strong an antagonist can affect a bildungsroman plot. Lastly, setting can affect the way a character will think or act. Huck Finn was a young boy who lived in the South in a time of slavery among African Americans. He is a true red neck who floats up the Mississippi River on a raft. He comes across all types of people on his journey. The setting affects this book so much because the fact the he lives in the south during the slave era shows how he treats black people along the way. He is faced with many problems, and uses his knowledge of his surroundings to get him out of them.

My first example for a bildungsroman story is Ender’s Game. Ender is a young boy who joins a school that train young children to fight. He is training to fight against a group of aliens that look almost like insects....
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