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Favorite Bildungsromans (Or Coming of Age Stories)

  • Jun 22, 2010
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee Harper's novel is an excellent depiction of small town southern life in the Depression era. Scout's gradual awareness of the race relations of her small Alabama town and the moral imperative to fight racial injustice is handled well.
The Color Purple
I know this would normally not be considered a bildungsroman, but honestly Alice Walker's novel fits a lot of the criteria. Celie's movement from helplessness to her eventual awareness of herself as an independent woman is stunning. It will always be a classic.
Great Expectations Charles Dickens
Charles Dicken's depiction of Pip's struggles and determination to be more than a common laborer in order to win the hand of Estella is the classic rags to (somewhat) riches story. Pip's growth from youthful innocence and arrogance to matured sensitivity and sensibility is remarkable.
Toni Morrison creates a moving tale of the power of friendship. Sula and Nel's tale of friendship interrupted by "life" and their eventual reunion is powerful and moving.
My Antonia
Willa Cather's creates an incredibly complex story of love and friendship as the reader follows Jim Burden through his life and consequently through the life of his childhood crush Antonia.

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June 22, 2010
Of course TKAM is at the top! I'm with Stace, too, Catcher would've been towards the top of mine :P Thanks for sharing another great list, lady!
June 22, 2010
Excellent choice of coming of age stories!
June 22, 2010
I'm shocked you didn't add The Catcher in the Rye on this! My all-time favorite...isn't it classified as a coming-of-age novel? Also, a more modern one would be The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky...a bit kooky but great nonetheless.
June 22, 2010
I know! You're so right. I struggled with making it just five. I think I might have to make it 10!
June 22, 2010
(laughs) I was wondering the same thing, Stacie! You always see "Catcher in the Rye" as a top choice for a coming of age novel.

Great job on the list, Gen. It sounds like this was really difficult to make considering all the choices you could have added!
About the list creator
Gen ()
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I recently graduated with a Master's degree in English. I love reading, writing and researching so much that I hope to make it my life's work! I've taught first year composition and have worked … more
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