Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Why is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens a bildungsroman novel?

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Great Expectations is a classic bildungsroman novel, or a coming-of-age novel. It tells the story of Pip as he grows from ten years old to twenty-three, and it's largely centered around him trying to find his place in the world. Like many bildungsromans, this book begins with an encounter (with the convict) that brings the protagonist's own mortality to his attention, and it continues to center on themes of Pip's struggles with finding love, finding his place in the class structure of his society, and figuring out how to relate to his family and his hometown. Great Expectations is taught so frequently in part because it epitomizes the concept of a bildungsroman novel. Pip moves from loneliness and fear to naivety and ambition and finally to a certain kind of humility, gratitude, and wisdom.

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Bildungsroman is a term used for a "coming-of-age" story, which details the maturation of a young character from childhood to adulthood. Great Expectations specifically tells the coming-of-age story of Pip,...

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