April 2, 2013

Building Bildungsroman = B: Blogging from A to Z

Day 2 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. I hope everyone is boldly bantering about Bs today.

Bildungsroman
(from Merriam-Webster)
Class of novel derived from German literature that deals with the formative years of the main character, whose moral and psychological development is depicted. It typically ends on a positive note, with the hero's foolish mistakes and painful disappointments behind him and a life of usefulness ahead. It grew out of folklore tales in which a dunce goes out into the world seeking adventure.

Otherwise known as a coming-of-age story.

The books that have stayed with me over the years tend to feature a young character struggling to figure out the conflicts swirling around them. A great example... The Book Thief. In it, young Liesel faces the horrors of  growing up in Germany during World War II. She has to grow up in circumstances that would destroy most adults. In horrific times, she finds her inner strength.

As a writer, I love to write these characters because the possibilities are endless. Young characters have one foot in childhood, and the naivete and wonderment associated with it, but they are testing the adult waters at the same time, trying to define who they want to be. They can be both optimistic and cynical, trusting and dubious. All in the span of a few minutes.

I disagree with the old saying that "youth is wasted on the young." The innocence and growth potential of youth would be wasted on those old enough to not embrace it, those already jaded by life events of pain and loss.

What is your favorite example of bildungsroman? 

Take a few minutes to visit other blogs on the B journey here.

5 comments:

Jan Morrison said...

I've always loved this word - sometimes the German language is the best - so exact! My favourite bildungsroman is Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munroe.
Jan Morrison

michelle said...

I LOVED The Book Thief and have a paperback copy.
It was the best book I read in 2012.
It's the kind of story that left me thinking... long and hard... after I read the final words, hugged the book tightly, and heaved a sigh of utter contentment mixed with a touch of wistfulness...

Jaleh D said...

I think Little Women and the Anne of Green Gables books would be my favorites. Watching Jo and Anne grow up and learn how to deal with the world always inspired me. I never really thought about the fact they were both writers.

Jo Michaels said...

Holy moly, Batman! I wrote a Bildungsroman! Yassa is the coming-of-age tale of Genghis Khan :) hehe Awesome post. I learned something today. Thanks for sharing, Tia. WRITE ON!

Miranda Hardy said...

When I read the first part, Don Quixote came to mind. Love learning new meanings of words.