The focus will be put on three novels, which despite being set in very different
geographic locations and periods, have the struggle of teenagers at times of social
unrest at their core. A Long Way Gone, The Breadwinner and Tree Girl are three
novels depicting the struggles of teenagers who seek to find their own identity,
through interactions with their surroundings.
The plots of these novels evolve around the topic of how hardships can affect and
form personality. However, a further point which needs to be considered is how
teenage readers may react when reading about facing this adversity. Thus the
protagonists’ personality being shaped by their personal experience is only one
aspect to be considered.
In The Breadwinner a teenage girl is confronted with a changing everyday routine
due to the Taliban regime and the absence of her father. In Tree Girl, colonial forces
are in power, which lead Gabriela, the protagonist, to leave her familiar surroundings
and embark on a journey towards an unknown destination. And finally these two
works of fiction are contrasted with a non-fiction novel, namely A Long Way Gone:
Memoirs of a boy soldier. This non-fiction should enable us to gain a deeper
understanding of how teenagers are affected by tragic events in their lives.
In addition, an emphasis will be put on the importance of the protagonists’ education,
as well as the influence of their parents and their cultural backgrounds. A further
topic that will be dealt with is the inward and outward journey that the protagonists
undertake and how this shapes their personality. The concept of inward journey
refers to the psychological growth and sense of maturity, whereas the outward
journey refers to the movement of the protagonists across the country in the hope of
finding a peaceful place.
A final stage will be to explore the impact of these novels on teenage readers in the
Luxembourgish classroom, in an attempt to demonstrate that the classroom context
facilitates intercultural interaction.