What is the history of the bildungsroman tradition in American media
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Question Option 3: (Topic subject areas: Media studies/film criticism/literary criticism)
Sag Harbor is often classified as a bildungsroman novel. What is the history of the bildungsroman tradition in American media (including literature, movies, and television), and how does Whitehead’s novel fit into that tradition? Additionally, in analyzing the similarities and differences between Whitehead’s novel and other works in the bildungsroman tradition, how does Whitehead comment on the genre as a whole?
– Your thesis should address all the questions posed
– Your body paragraphs should include examples, including summaries and quotes, from
all relevant readings, including the novel as well as outside sources
– Your body paragraphs should analyze how the evidence, including the novel and your
outside sources, supports and, ultimately, proves your thesis
– Your outside sources should be integrated within the essay, referenced throughout as
needed, and should not be confined to 1 paragraph
Questions to answer in the essay:
Question 1: What is the history of the bildungsroman tradition in American
Question 2: How does Sag Harbor fit into this tradition?
Question 3: Compared to other bildungsroman works, how does Whitehead veer
away from the traditional bildungsroman genre?
Sources to use for each question’s answer:
Source 1: Whitehead, Colson. Sag Harbor. Vintage Digital, 2013.
(This is the source of the book Sag Harbor) Use this source to answer question 2 by introducing Benji and describing his growth. Take evidence from chapters 1, 6, and 7 talking about Benji’s growth throughout the novel. Can also use to find evidence for question 3.
Source 2: MasterClass. “What Is a Bildungsroman? Definition and Examples of
Bildungsroman in Literature – 2022.” MasterClass, MasterClass, 30 Aug. 2021,
Use this source for question 1 to talk about the history of the bildungsroman genre and its
structure. Compare the history and structure to other American Media such as “Lady Bird”
(from source 4).
Source 3: Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mocking Bird. Guidelines Study Aids, 1989.
(To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee)
Use this source to answer question 3 and contrast the way Lee uses the bildungsroman
genre to Whitehead’s use in Sag Harbor. Describe how Whitehead uses Benji to show the
growth of a black kid instead of a white kid (Scout) in To Kill A Mocking Bird.
Source 4: The Bottom Line, et al. “Bildungsroman: How We Come of Age – The
Bottom Line Ucsb.” The Bottom Line UCSB -, 28 Jan. 2021, https://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2021/01/ae-bildungsroman-how-we-come-of-ag
Use this source to answer question 1 to show how bildungsroman is shown in American
Media (movies) such as “Lady Bird”.
– The prompt asks, “how does Whitehead comment on the genre as a whole.” To answer this question, focus on how Whitehead veers away from the traditional bildungsroman genre because he shows the growth of a black kid (Benji in Sag Harbor) instead of a white kid (Scout in To Kill a Mocking Bird). (This is from question 3 and sources 1 and 3).
– The essay should be 12 point font Times New Roman, double spaced, 1 inch margins, and in MLA style with a Works Cited page
Source 1: Colson Whitehead’s “Sag Harbor” (PDF attached in files section)
Source 2: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-a-bildungsroman-definition-and-examples-of-bildungsroman-in-literature#what-is-a-bildungsroman.
Source 3: Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mocking Bird” (PDF attached in files section)
Source 4: https://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2021/01/ae-bildungsroman-how-we-come-of-age-copy