Character Development In The Immortalists, By Chloe Benjamin

1144 Words 5 Pages
The application of principles from literary movements and genres are important when writing novels. Most distinguishable by their interpretations of these principles, authors often use them to enhance the effectiveness of their story. To identify the movement and genre, the reader must analyze the most important scenes in a novel. These scenes tell the reader exactly what he or she should keep in mind when reading. In the case of The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, the fact that it is a Bildungsroman novel influences the reader to pay attention to character development. Furthermore, this novel belongs to the Naturalism movement, which means that it depicts the effect of outside forces on life and a character’s decisions. Both the literary movement …show more content…
The effects of fate rather than deliberate decisions provide the means for necessary growth in the four main characters. A fortune teller in this novel reveals the children’s future, rather than allowing it to develop on its own. This particular outside force provides the means for each character to grow into their destined self. The forces of society and nature are what influences the choices of characters in a story ("Naturalism"). Each character subconsciously wills their future to happen the way he or she hears from the fortune teller. Likewise, each child’s development is due to the societal climate in the world around them. Current events from the late 1960s onwards are responsible for the growth of the characters. Namely speaking, Daniel (the oldest son) becomes a war doctor after the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. To clarify, Naturalism writers study the effects of the environment on people and how people react to their instincts (Campbell). The Immortalists would not count as a Naturalism novel without depicting decisions such as Daniel’s. Comparatively, living through the deaths of her entire family influences Varya to study longevity. This development is as a result of the grief and mourning caused by Varya’s many losses. As the main children grow up, the predetermination of their fates becomes crystal …show more content…
For example, Varya is the last of her siblings to die, and she watches them pass on long before she does. This influences her future decisions to study longevity. Authors of Naturalism works discuss their characters' reactions to environment related struggles ("Naturalism"). The grief she experiences fuels her desire to prolong her own life. Likewise, Klara, who is guilt ridden over her brother’s death, chooses to endeavor in death defying stunts. It is true that “generally, such a novel starts with a loss or a tragedy that disturbs the main character emotionally” (“Bildungsroman”). This very clearly happens to Klara in The Immortalists. Internal conflicts cause Klara to wish she had real magic in order to bring Simon back from the dead. Comparatively, Simon’s fate makes him fully embrace his sexuality as a gay man. Due to his disbelief in fate as a concept, he dies at 20 years old as a result of the AIDS crisis. The conflict between what he wants and what he learns will happen to him influences his decisions as his life progresses. Conflicts in The Immortalists are imperative to its classification as a Naturalism

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