Frank (the protagonist and author) emotionally progresses through the memoir following a classic bildungsroman structure. This is a German version of the “coming-of-age story” that evolved out of folktales about vulnerable children seeking their fortunes. Full maturity is the end result of these stories. Through the main character’s mistakes, they learn about the world, enabling them to adapt to society—becoming a mature adult.
There are many variations of the bildungsroman, and it should be noted that when literally translated, the word means “education book.”
The first example of the bildungsroman’s tropes comes when the story begins with Frank leaving home after a devastating emotional blow: the death of his sister and the family leaving Brooklyn, bound for Ireland.
Once Frank reaches Ireland, the memoir follows him through trials and tribulations (such as different living situations and illnesses, along with his time at school and church) on his way to adulthood and full...
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