Top 10 Bildungsroman Books of All Time

 

Bildungsroman novels are those whose principal subject is the psychological, moral and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character. Bildungsroman’s origin took place in the year 1819. These novels are also called as the coming-of-age novels and the bildungsroman short stories primarily entice the young readers.

 

The Mill on the Floss

This novel deals with passionate and clever Maggie Tulliver who can't fit herself in the narrow world of St Oggs but her brother Tom yearns to be accepted and loved. This novel is mainly a melodramatic flood of lust, love, betrayal and petite blonde envy, and serves as one of the good bildungsroman examples in literature.

Read it For:
This novel is more concerned with the psychological truth.
Don't Read it For:
The novel is said to be melodramatic.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book's power is derived from the consistent play of the tragic forces that unify the whole work.

Great Expectations

The novel is about Pip's journey across childhood landscape of mists, prisoners, and decaying wedding veils. Then the novel deals with the drastic leap into Pip's adolescence and final turn into a strained, pale adulthood. The bildungsroman Great Expectations novel charts the map of adolescence for a century to come.

Read it For:
The novel says that loyalty, affection and conscience are more important than wealth, social advancement and class.
Don't Read it For:
The novel is about ethical and psychological dangers which are present in the caste system.
What makes this book stand out?:
Great Expectations take three forms of ambition and self-improvement, i.e., moral, educational and social. The inspirational quality of the book makes it stand out.

Jane Eyre

One of the best books of bildungsroman in literature portrays the tale of Jane Eyre who emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She falls in love with Mr. Rochester and discovers the impediment to their marriage.

Read it For:
The novel is about a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than what Victorian society had traditionally allowed.
Don't Read it For:
The novel is a vehement approach to class conflict and gender difference.
What makes this book stand out?:
The author's innovative and enduring romantic novel engages and provokes readers till date, and serves as a good bildungsroman examples.

A Prayer for Owen Meany

While playing in Little League baseball game in New Hampshire, eleven-year-old Owen Meany hits a foul ball and kills his best friend's mother. After this devastating incident, Owen says that he does not believe in accidents and further says that he believes that he is God's instrument. After the 1953 foul ball, what happens to Owen is both extraordinary and terrifying.

Read it For:
The character is , at moments, a comic, self-deluded victim, but in the end, he is a principal and tragic actor in a divine plan.
Don't Read it For:
It is a heart- breaking novel
What makes this book stand out?:
This is an interesting book about faith, doubt and relationship between natural and supernatural.
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The Bell Jar

Esther Greenwood is beautiful, brilliant and successful but goes into a breakdown which looks intense and real.

Read it For:
This novel is about the deep penetration into the harrowing corners of the human psyche.
Don't Read it For:
It is a haunting American classic.
What makes this book stand out?:
This author shocking, intensely emotional and realistic novel is about a woman who falls into the grip of insanity.

My Antonia

The story reflects the paradoxes of the small town on the wild prairie of the setting. The narrator Jim Burden says about an unspoken crush and eroticizing his portraits of the Bohemian and Swedish girls he grew up with and also the landscapes they shaped.

Read it For:
The novel is luminous, elegant, bold, epic and elliptical.
Don't Read it For:
The novel is too prolonged.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book portrays humankind's relationship with the past, to its environment and also the immigrant experience in the United States.

Decline and Fall

The novel is about the journey of Paul Pennyfeather who is shaken by his studies because of the marauding Bollinger club. So he embarks on a queasy journey through the relative innocence of school teaching and then to the corrupt experience of chrome-covered London.

Read it For:
This is the funniest novel which had gained immediate fame and name.
Don't Read it For:
The novel might not always come up with your expectations.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book stands out because it is Joyous, savagely satirical, comic and is also quietly sad.

The Pursuit of Love

The character Linda is posh, pretty, ridiculously well connected and also wears some deeply enviable clothes, but it results in her hopeless lovelorn yearning and hapless choices which breaks sensitive young things everywhere.

Read it For:
This prose leads the characters to misguided marriages, dramatic love affairs when the shadow of the World War II begins to close in on their fast - vanishing world.
Don't Read it For:
The novel does not showcase any interesting nature's of the characters and the humor is considered to be slapstick.
What makes this book stand out?:
This novel has a wonderfully sad and romantic ending which totally completed the sob-fest.

The Magic Toyshop

Melanie slips into her mother's wedding dress but the next thing we know is that she is forced to live with her relatives she never met. Her Aunt is beautiful and speechless, brother Francie has clumsy nature and Finn kisses Melanie in the ruins of the pleasure gardens. Uncle Philip loves only the life-sized wooden puppets.

Read it For:
This is a classic gothic novel which mesmerizes the readers.
Don't Read it For:
The plot is not organized and the writing is uncertain.
What makes this book stand out?:
The novel shimmers with blurred echoes and leaves behind a flavor which is pungent and unsettling.

Brother of the More Famous Jack

The naive but glamorous Katherine is taken up by the self-indulgent and intellectual Goldman family  and there are heart broken series of vivid and comical  vignettes. In the second part of the novel, she is less self-consciously charming and is even  beguiling.

Read it For:
The writing is clean and precise and the characters are vivid and complex.
Don't Read it For:
The novel is not interesting and the narration is boring.
What makes this book stand out?:
This is a short coming of age novel which is tragic, funny and heart-warming.

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