The Journey from Innocence to Experience : Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials as a female Bildungsroman

University essay from Högskolan i Gävle/Institutionen för humaniora och samhällsvetenskap

Abstract: In this essay the main aim is to consider Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials with its female protagonist as a Bildungsroman. The principal source of the study is Jerome Buckley’s Season of Youth – The Bildungsroman from Dickens to Golding. Buckely’s presentation of the significant characteristics of the Bildungsroman will be applied to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials in order to explore if these characteristics are present, modified or not, in the trilogy.   The second aim is to investigate how His Dark Materials relates to the patterns of the hero’s journey. In order to approach this question, Joseph Campbell’s work The Hero with a Thousand Faces is applied as a main source.    Since most material concerning both the Bildungsroman and the hero’s journey are from a male point of view and concern males, the female perspective will be represented by Susan Fraiman and Linda Wagner who both write about females and the bildung narrative.   In the section called The Story of Lyra, the trilogy is summarized briefly in order to give the reader a chance to understand what the trilogy is about. In the conclusion, Lyra’s development and (hero)-journey are discussed.     The final claim of the study is that His Dark Materials can be considered a Bildungsroman and the patterns of the hero journey are found in the story about Lyra, but with some differences from her male counterparts.

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