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A "coming of age" story is one in which the main character (or, sometimes, characters) make the transition from childhood into adulthood, usually through some sort of tragedy, or unpleasant life-changing experience. For example, in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout Finch's coming of age was hastened by the unfair verdict against Tom Robinson, simply because he was black and his accuser was white, followed by the unpleasant realization that she lived in a community dominated by racial prejudice and intolerance for anyone who might be different. In Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Cassie Logan's coming of age occurred as her African American family nearly lost their land to vindictive whites, and a classmate, also black, was unfairly framed and convicted of a crime committed by two white men. In The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, the main character, Edgar, becomes tangled in a series of unpleasant, life-changing events that begin with the death of his father, and the realization that his father was killed by his own brother, lead to his own accidental murder of the family's veterinarian, a stint away from home trying to avoid a murder charge, and finally, his own death at the hands of his evil uncle, as he (Edgar) tries to save the documents that represent his father's life work from the family's burning barn.
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