The Rainbow, as a Female Bildungsroman

Yaorong HE


It is argued in this paper that The Rainbow, about three generations of the Brangwen family, is a female Bildungsroman, which focuses on the growth and initiation experiences of three main female characters—Lydia, Anna and Ursula. Moreover, the initiation is completed by three generations altogether. According to Mordecai Marcus(1969), there are three categories of initiation: tentative initiation experience, represented by the first generation of Brangwen family—Lydia; uncompleted initiation experience, the same case with the second generation—Anna; decisive initiation experience, whose spokesperson is the third generation—Ursula. The Rainbow, a book about the family history of the Brangwens, concerns the initiation experiences of three female characters. Based on such considerations, this paper, by means of textual analysis and comparative study, will prove that The Rainbow is a female Bildungsroman presenting the initiation experiences of three female generations of the Brangwen family, and the initiation experience of each female character is varied but closely related, which shows the growth is a complicated and gradual process.


The Rainbow; Female Bildungsroman; Ursula; Self-fulfillment

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