Bildungsroman refers to a novel or story that tells the coming-of-age or development of a young protagonist. This genre typically follows the protagonist’s journey from youth to adulthood and the various challenges and experiences that shape their personal growth and development. The term “Bildungsroman” is a German word that translates to “novel of education” or “novel of formation,” emphasizing the educational and developmental aspects of the genre.

Examples of bildungsroman:

“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini – The story follows the character of Amir as he grows up in Afghanistan and later moves to the United States, and learns important lessons about loyalty, betrayal, and redemption.

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green – The story follows the character of Hazel Grace Lancaster as she navigates adolescence while dealing with a terminal illness, and learns important lessons about love, loss, and the meaning of life.

“Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell – The story follows the characters of Eleanor and Park as they navigate the challenges of first love while dealing with family and societal issues, and learn important lessons about identity, acceptance, and connection.

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie – The story follows the character of Junior as he grows up on a Native American reservation and later attends a predominately white high school, and learns important lessons about identity, culture, and resilience.

“The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt – The story follows the character of Theo Decker as he navigates the aftermath of a tragic event and learns important lessons about grief, art, and redemption.

2 thoughts on “Bildungsroman”

  1. I learned the term “ dynamic” to describe a character who changes over the course of the story, by learning from situations, overcoming obstacles and developing as a result. The opposite is a “static” character who stays the same throughout the action of the story.
    How is Bildungsroman any different that a dynamic character, and why use such an unwieldy term when dynamic is intuitive and easier to remember?

    1. Because Billdungsroman refers to the story itself which revolves around the protagonist, but dynamic and static refer to individual characters. Bildungsroman is very specifically coming-of-age, but a dynamic character is not exclusive to a young protagonist growing up. In my mind, a “dynamic” book would not refer to a book in which the main character overcomes obstacles and learns from experience, but it would refer to a book that consists of many diverse characters, themes, and settings.

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