Every Novel Is the Story of a Characters Journey to Self-Knowledge Essay

Every novel is the story of a characters journey to self-knowledge. Discuss. Intro – The statement that ‘every novel is the story of a characters journey to self-knowledge’ is true because in every good book written the main character goes through a type of journey, but there is always the internal journey that really makes the book and the characters believable. In the story of Cinderella and the books ‘The Spook’s Apprentice’ and ‘Tomorrow, when the War began’ there is a clear internal journey of the main character as well as their literal journey.

Cinderella’s internal journey follows the most common structure; she goes from a bad place to somewhere a lot better. In the story of Cinderella, not only is it about her physical journey but also about her journey to self-knowledge. When Cinderella was young her mother died and after this her father remarried a widow who already had 2 girls. Her father died a short while after remarrying and she was left in the care of her stepmother.

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Growing up Cinderella was treated like a waste of time by her step-family and she felt sad, lonely and worthless. During the story she finds out her true worth, that she is beautiful and the prince falls in love with her, thus making her feel loved and accepted. This is her inner journey and it is what really makes the story, in all stories or books the main character is not completely perfect or okay, if they were then the story wouldn’t be as good.

In the book ‘The Spook’s Apprentice’ the main character Tom Ward also goes through an internal journey to self-knowledge. ‘The Spook’s Apprentice’ the main character Tom Ward starts off the book relatively happy with how his life is going, his internal journey is more about learning about himself than becoming happier like in the story of Cinderella. He begins the book as a 13 year old farm boy, the seventh son of a seventh son; this makes him suitable to become apprentice to the local Spook.

When he is first apprenticed to the Spook he doubts his ability to do well at the job, as it involves dealing with beings from the dark like witches, ghosts and boggarts. He doesn’t think he has the courage to stand against these scary beings and he also doesn’t want to be a spook as he finds it lonely. When Tom is confronted throughout the book by evil witches he manages to overcome them and his courage grows, he is also less lonely due to becoming friends with Alice, a young witch who isn’t all good or all bad.

By the end of the book Tom has been confronted with various dark beings and beaten them, he realises that being a spook is his true calling. His journey was one where his self-confidence in his abilities grew, but in some books like ‘Tomorrow, when the War began’ the main character can go from being content to having something come and disrupt their life in such a way that they feel a lot worse off. The book ‘Tomorrow, when the War began’ the main character Ellie’s internal journey slowly goes downhill, yet she is still on a journey to self knowledge.

When Ellie and 7 others come back from a camping trip in the bush they find that their entire country has been taken over by an invading country. They are forced to live in the bush, running scared and fighting for their lives to survive, Ellie especially goes from being alright with her life to reverting to her natural instincts, having to kill others has a dramatic influence on her and she is forced to harden her personality to be able to cope.

The way the internal journey of this book plays out is less common, usually the character doesn’t become worse off but better. Every book contains a journey to self-knowledge in their inner journey, as well as the characters literal journey. In both novels and the story the character finds out more about themselves and is either better or worse off for it. Readers find it easier to relate to a character that has to deal with internal problems as they can identify with problems they have; as every person has an inner journey so should every character.


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