To What Extent Do Bronte and Carroll Use the Form of Bildungsroman to Shape the Identity of Characters in ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’? Essay

2162 WordsNov 8, 20129 Pages
To what extent do Bronte and Carroll use the form of Bildungsroman to shape the identity of characters in ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’? The ‘identity’ of an individual is often defined as a set of characteristics by which a person is definitively recognisable or known. Throughout the literary canon, the form of Bildungsroman has been used in novels to follow the journey of young protagonists as they mature and discover their own true identity. In both ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, Carroll and Bronte elucidate the idea of humans needing to be faced with a drastic situation or trial in order to mature and develop their own identity. One aspect of the Bildungsroman form used similarly to shape identity in both ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ is the way in which place and location is used to shape the identity of characters. In ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, it is often interpreted that Carroll constructs the entire novel as a metaphor for the journey and changes children go through as they hit the teenage years of their life and enter puberty. Once Alice enters Wonderland, one of the first occurrences of the novel is for her to undergo several physical transformations in size; “’I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!’” The fact that these changes occur almost instantly as Alice enters Wonderland at the beginning of the novel show how the place itself is a catalyst for these physical changes of Alice’s identity to occur. The way that Carroll has her refer to herself as opening out like “the largest telescope that there ever was” could be seen as the way that children often over-exaggerate and shows how at this stage in the book Alice is still just a child and her identity has not yet matured. This over-exaggeration could be interpreted to weaken the text since

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