Novels of redemption don’t necessarily have anything to do with organized religion, politics, or ethics. Rather, they address a fundamental human theme that cuts across all social, cultural, economic, and religious lines: the needs and labors of becoming true to one’s self and one’s ideals.
In an intensely personal sense, “redemption” means becoming a better person, or a happier person, according to one’s own moral compass. Often, it requires an epic struggle to rise above the tragic vicissitudes or quotidian restraints of everyday life.
suggested reading list
- The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
- Nice essay on Proulx and her writing
- Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
- William Blake’s Milton — a course of redemption through the labor of the imagination.
- My Antonia, by Willa Cather
- Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson
- The Movie Goer, by Walker Percy
And titles that almost, but didn’t make this list:
- Death in Venice, by Thomas Mann
- Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
- The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde