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Bildungsroman traits of Sunrise on the Veld

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Laura Harvey Mr. Fink English 20 25 September 2008 To what extent is the short story Sunrise on the Veld, an example of the Bildungsroman genre of literature? The Bildungsroman genre is commonly defined as a novel or story in which the main character experiences personal growth or inner development. The term Bildungsroman was originally brought into the German vernacular due to the effectiveness of its theme, which was the importance of self-discovery towards a successful life. The genre was adapted after the "Enlightenment" which was a period when freedom of expression, individuality and unique ideas all were strongly encouraged. The short story A Sunrise on the Veld is a phenomenal example of the genre because it portrays many of the Bildungsroman traits. To be defined as Bildungsroman literature, the story must convey a protagonist with the potential of self-development without the assistance from others around them. ...read more.


Bildungsroman literature determines the youth of the protagonist to be detrimental towards their initial understanding of life. In order to be classified as a Bildungsroman the main character must undergo a series of events that will eventually lead to a complete understanding towards the main character's meaning of life. Initially, the protagonist exhibits a seemingly shallow outlook on life when he shouts, "I contain the world." This ultimately reveals his naivety which has obviously resulted from his youth and lack of life experience. While the boy's optimistic view on life potentially withholds the ability to give him many successes, it also may set him up for eventual failure. Hence, when one showcases great zealousness towards life, any small failure can cause them to suffer dramatically. When the protagonist showcases this enthusiasm it is evident that he will fail in some way causing him either to suffer for the rest of his life or it may lead him to obtain a more realistic outlook on life which often results in great successes. ...read more.


The protagonist may be reflecting upon his own life with his perception of the buck. In the beginning of the story he finds himself believing he can do anything, which relates to the high regard he places the buck in. Observing the buck in this condition he immediately becomes less naive. Eventually realizing he had killed the animal directly relates to the universal theme of taking responsibility for your actions. The consequence he now faces is the pain of recognizing he had harmed a sinless creature which then leads him to decipher his newly brought conflict. The ability and faith to resolve conflicts is also a quality of the Bildungsroman genre. A Sunrise on the Veld is an excellent example of the Bildungsroman genre as it clearly illustrates unaided self-development, an eventual understanding of life, and a universal theme. The protagonist eventually moves toward self-development and regardless of his youth develops an understanding of life itself. ?? ?? ?? ?? Harvey ...read more.

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