Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Maria Stehle

Committee Members

Stefani Ohnesorg, Kirsten Gonzalez


Coming-of-age literature is nothing new to the German literary canon. There is, however, new coming-of-age literature being written and publish often in Germany. Some of these works include Crazy (Benjamin Lebert, 1999), Scherbenpark (Alina Bronsky, 2008), and Tschick (Wolfgang Herrndorf, 2012). These works go against expectations of traditional coming of age novels in the German canon such as Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister by taking expected outcomes and twisting them into new, more relatable for modern consumers. This thesis explores issues, misconceptions, and reworkings of coming-of-age novels in contemporary German literature, with a focus on family, rebellion, and relationships. What does coming-of-age mean, and what problems are posed during this journey? Taking this question at hand, and postulating four pillars or coming-of-age stories (family, rebellion, sexual experience, and friendships) show a reworking of traditional Bildungsroman themes in these works and their contemporaries. It is hoped that this provides insight and meaning to contemporary coming-of-age literature in Germany by focusing on the expectations versus realities of the novels, showing coming-of-age in a more realistic way.

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