Novel Patterns

 Novels tell stories that illustrate beliefs.
And so, there are sometimes patterns in novels from a specific time and place.

AMERICA: 1865-1914
After the Civil War and before World War I

Popular novels:
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Pollyanna
Prince and the Pauper
The Secret Garden
Tarzan of the Apes

The beginning of the novels:
1.  The main character is an orphan.
2. There are many hardships.
3. The character previously had a happy life.
4. The character’s parents did not have society’s approval for their marriage.
5. A journey begins.

The middle of the novels:
1. The setting is either in a large home or outdoors.
2. The new parents are of a different social rank than the birth parents.
3. The antagonist of of the same sex as the main character.
4. The helper is either of the opposite sex or an outsider in society.
5. The main character triumphs over the antagonist.
6. The character rescues people.

The ending of the novels:
1. The main character’s original identity is revealed.
2. The character is praised by others.
3. The character chooses between the two lives or finds a way to be part of both lives.

To learn more about this pattern in novels, read The Classic American Children’s Story by Jerry Griswold (Penguin Books, 1992).

 

 

 

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