Essay Example on Tragic Novels: Inner Turmoil, Pain and Isolation of Protagonists

Paper Type: 
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  890 Words
Date:  2023-09-19

Tragic events often result in disaster or sadness within the plot of a novel. The protagonist in the story usually undergoes a considerable amount of pain, suffering, or isolation before overcoming or dying at the end of the story. While various authors use external situations to generate the tragedies, few authors can generate these hurdles from within the characters by utilizing their emotions, family connections, and mind (Back n.p). Although traditional tragedies often involved mature protagonists, the modern-day literary work tends to follow the protagonist from childhood up to the moment of their enlightenment. This paper aims to compare two bildungsroman tragedies, as described within The Round House and Winter's Bone demonstrate the impacts of tragic events on the protagonist (Back n.p).

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The source of tragedies within the literature can be linked to the childhood years of the protagonist, which tend to have an impact on their families. In The Round House, the tragedy that befalls Joe can be traced to the time when his mother, Geraldine Coutts, fails to come home from errands that she was running. Even though Joe and his father find her alive, he is covered with vomit and gasoline. They take her to the hospital, where they realize that she had been raped and takes her record police statements. This marks the beginning of the protagonist's family stress in the novel. The family events mentioned above created a traumatic environment where mental distress was unavoidable. Similarly, in the Winter's Bone literature work, the tragedy can be traced to Ree's father, Jessup, who fails to appear on trial (Back n.p). Jessup was arrested in relation to his meth manufacturing activities and was released on bail awaiting trial. However, he disappears, leaving behind a seventeen-year boy, Ree, to take care of his younger brother and mentally ill mother. The burden that was placed on Ree was too heavy to bear for a person his age. The town sheriff threatens to make Ree's family house if his father fails to appear in court as it was part of the release bond. In this regard, the two novel shows how the tragic events that the children experienced during their formative years transformed their lives.

The impact of the tragedies within these novels is in line with the bildungsroman structure of compositions. The two protagonists, Joe and Ree, are inspired by their tragedies in pursuit of justice, truth, and revenge for their family. The two protagonists do not despair in the face of misfortunes that befell them and their families. Joe gets to understand the various obstacles that the indigenous tribe faces in their pursuit of justice, the mistreatment of women, and kills Linden for raping his mother. The Round House tragedy changes the perception of the protagonist leading to his maturity and enlightenment (Erdrich n.p). The two learn a very tender age about systematic discrimination, such as racism and gender inferiority. As a result, the two protagonists develop a mental acumen that is robust as compared to most of their peers as outline by the author.

Similarly, in his pursuit to understand what happened to his criminal father, Ree get to understand the dynamics surrounding his father's case. His interactions with the Milton women and Teardrop he learns that his father was an informer and was killed by other meth cookers. The impact of his father's tragedy is an evident cause of Ree's maturity and enlightenment as he attempts to enlist in the army as a way of making 40,000 dollars extra. Ree's experiences make him more responsible, and he takes up life challenges to improve not only his wellbeing but also his family (Erdrich n.p). She always stepped up to the role of being the family provider as well as a caretaker. She works hard so that she can be a role model to her younger brothers in a bid to achieve the utmost independence, pride, and self-sufficiency. She endeavored to provide for her family despite her extended family being well-off. On the other hand, Joe also prioritizes the wellbeing of Geraldine alluding to his rape. The phenomenon meant that he would take up a new adult role. In doing so, he is tasked with giving an accurate account of what happened to Geraldine. Seeing her mother and envisioning the rape traumatized him, he could not slack and cower under the incidence (Erdrich n.p). He rushes Geraldine to the hospital, and he confronted with the reality of his mother's distress. The events mentioned above catapulted the two protagonists into adulthood at a young age as compared to their peers.

The family's tragedies for Ree and Joe provide the bildungsroman structure for the two novels, exploring the protagonists' losses up to the moment of their maturing, demonstrating change and growth both physically and psychologically. The two boys take up the responsibilities of protecting their families. Despite the age difference between the protagonist, they both undergo similar tragedies in terms of laws of the society as well as the consequences of their parents' decisions.

Works Cited

back, Lover1. "Winter bones." YouTube, 26 Apr. 2018,

Erdrich, Louise. "The Round House Chapter One: 1988 Summary & Analysis." LitCharts,

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Essay Example on Tragic Novels: Inner Turmoil, Pain and Isolation of Protagonists. (2023, Sep 19). Retrieved from

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