The novel is the setting in northern Germany and tells the story of three generations of Buddenbrooks, between 1835 and 1877 (the founder of the House, Johan, is mentioned only occasionally), a merchant family representative of the bourgeois spirit of the time. The book published by Gollancz contains a useful tree that helps easily locate the characters from the beginning, but at the end of the novel the reader to accurately recognize the most relevant.
The author is recreating an era, contextualizándola a particular social class, in addition to outlining characters so that delves into their innermost recesses and windings. The family is brought to glory by the consul Johann Buddenbrooks, and soon becomes exposed the protocol that defines character, starting with the convenient marriages that everyone has a duty to perform, regardless of the feelings that mediate them.
Buddenbrooks family has a party in honor of the new house they bought in the Mengstrasse.La family is one of the most important in Lübeck by which owns the name Johann Buddenbrooks, an import and export of cereals .
The consul grandfather Johann Buddenbrooks is the current owner of the company and is married to Antoinette Duchamps. They have two children: Gothold who was disinherited for marrying a shopkeeper without the consent of his father, Johann who works for the company and is married to Elisabeth Kröger and has four children: Thomas (Tom), Christian, Antonie (Tony) and Klara. Also living in the house Ida Jungman, from Prussia and makes aya and housekeeper, and Klothilde (Tilda) who is disinherited daughter of a part of the family and has been adopted by the Mengstraße Buddenbrooks.
The family summers in Travemünde, a hotel at the seaside she attends the elite of society. Time passes and the old Johann Buddenbrooks, founder, dies thus taking the reins of the company consulate and his son, the consul Johann Buddenbrooks. At about the same time Tom goes to work for his father with enthusiasm and dynamism while Christian pasmantes emigrated to South America in search of work. After a few years in which the name has remained Johann Buddenbrooks without gain or loss of any kind, also the old consul dies Buddenbrooks, Duchamps birth. Here we begin to twist things up a bit, since the people are restless and afraid of revolution, but so far nothing happens.
Meanwhile, a certain Bendix grünlich presented in Buddenbrooks house to talk business, but a few days after he left, the consul received a letter in which Mr. grünlich asked the hand of his daughter Antonie, who has and 19 years. This creates a strong discussion between the consuls, who are in favor of marriage, and Tony, no. To think that Tony can be a few days to Travemünde, where he meets a young man who falls in love, Morten. But this love is impossible, since a few days after B.Grünlich appears indignant and talk to the father telling Morten is engaged to Tony and his son is trying to conquer, so the father indignantly sends for his son and immediately sent back to college. Tony, desperate insistence of her suitor access to marriage and goes to live in Hamburg with her husband. A while later Tony has a daughter, Erika grünlich.
Meanwhile Tom and Christian continue with his life, the first and second Lübeck in Valparaiso, where he leads a quiet life and attend the theater and the opera regularly. Start to notice some problems swallowing and a slight “torment” in the left leg. The revolution broke so many cities like Berlin are rioting. In Lübeck, the people break some windows and besieges the town hall, which houses the consul and his father-in session of the City Council. With the growing nervousness of nobles and bourgeois Council resolution making the consul out to talk to the people to calm, as it is one of the most prized by workers. Indeed, the consul does appease and these go home.
But the incident has left a deep mark on his father, Mr. Kröger, too “noble” to be distressed by the mob and, full of anger, dies of a stroke that night. After three years of marriage, grünlich Antonie discovers one day that her husband is broke and that if his father, the Consul Buddenbrooks not paying a large sum of money can not keep the house or business. But the consul is reluctant to pay that sum as the company Johann Buddenbrooks is not at its best and this infuriates grünlich Bendix in a rage shown as it really is and reveals that if Tony was married for the dowry of eighty thousand marks. This of course ended when Tony went to the consul back to Mengstraße and did not know anything of Mr. B.Grünlich. Shortly after the separation of Antonie, the old Consul Buddenbrooks dies at sixty years of age.
Tony, after a trip to Munich becomes enamored of a Mr. Permaneder, that after being introduced to the family becomes the second husband of Mrs. grünlich, now Mrs. Permaneder. Klara also marries a Protestant pastor called Sievet Tiburtius enjoying the sympathy of the widow Buddenbrooks, but not that of Thomas, who, after a party in Amsterdam knows Arnoldsen Gerda, a beautiful old school friend of Tony, of falling in love. A few months after marriage. But not all joy, because shortly after the wedding of Tom, after an abortion, Permaneder Antonie discovers her drunken husband flirting with a maid and divorced twice. After months of depression in the Consul Buddenbrooks Mengstraße has a son named Johann (Hanno) already from birth happens to be sickly. Since the family had grown, Tom ordered the construction of a luxury home in Fischerstrasse and Jungman Ida takes with him to take care of little Hanno.
But after purchasing and following the significant outlay which has meant the family business, which until then had been better than ever, start having problems. Tom was elected senator after a hard struggle against hegemonic family of Lübeck, the Hagenström, who are also hated by Tony, to which the election is made happy. Following this election, it brings new headaches, and problems of the company’s profit to decline slowly begins Tom and dynamism of the beginning disappears. This leads to more problems for the company and for the family. For example, Tom, and Tony the insistent pleas of buying an important cereal crop belonging to an old friend of hers, Armgard von Schilling before being harvested, but the deal goes wrong and further plunges the name Johann Buddenbrooks.
The little Hanno shows a growing love of music and learned to play the piano, hobby that is supported by his mother, who is a violin virtuoso. But Hanno has many health problems and does not bode well. His father tries to instill the habits of the bourgeoisie and about the business world, but this does not gel on the head of poor Hanno who fears his angry father. The young Johann has a unique and inseparable friend, Kai, Count Mölln, which comes from an impoverished noble family. There are rumors that Gerda Buddenbrooks relates too with an army lieutenant.
Buddenbrooks Thomas realizes his mental and moral and feels his end is near, so devoted to the reading of a philosophical work that for a moment think he revives, but soon abandoned his meditation and continues with his life social work and consumes you and destroys you inside thus becoming increasingly irritable and touchy. One day, because of the pain caused by a decayed tooth, Thomas Buddenbrooks fainted and hit his head, causing his death hours later. The house is sold and Fischerstrasse name Johann Buddenbrooks closes losing much money on the sale. Ida Jungman is fired and Prussia again thinking that this dismissal was done with his life.
The Buddenbrooks family history narrative ends with the adolescence of Hanno, school anecdotes. At fifteen, he contracted typhus and died, leaving the family successors and friendless Buddenbrooks Count Mölln, Kai. His mother returns to Amsterdam with his family and Antonie, her daughter and granddaughter stay in Lübeck with the only company of Therese Weichbrodt old friend of his mother and his teacher and Erika during her childhood and her friend Armgard von Schilling . Christian, married to a woman of ill repute, is confined in a hospital for life. Johann and his second wife, Antoinette, are the basis on which this work builds. Your children will be in charge of continuing the aggrandizement of the name, by careful monitoring devices courtesies granted them great dignity and a deep admiration of those of the same class and therefore those who belong to lower strata.
The first three children of the couple, Thomas, Antoine (Tony) and Christian, are beautifully recreated, while Clara, the youngest, is less drawn and soon leaves the stage to marry a pastor. The first two will be devoted to what the legacy imposed, while the third will leave the fold, although the economic needs always keep it close to the parental home.
You admire the way the characters respond to a society that has default profile should have. Tony, for example, feels absolutely responsible to marry according to the “good of the family and the company.” Only once has a chance to get close to love, when her parents send her to live a season near the sea. There he meets a young revolutionary ideas, with whom he has the unique opportunity to taste the sweetness of a slightly sincere affection. Later, back home, think that should correspond to what is expected of them at all costs, and the husband decides to accept her father proposes, even though I hate.
At some point, this link will show the reader, somewhat crudely, the reality of the marriage covenant. This is a completely subordinate to social convention marked by his family and the social sphere in which it operates, always assimilated. Never reaches a compelling individuality and lives only for the famous “contribution” to the Buddenbrooks House, and to be aware of the opinions of others to the extent that they can or not exalt. It’s not the only one doing it, but it’s immaturity there who can not step back to give the proper dimension or objective reality.
Thomas leaves a beautiful young florist, clarifying with sincerity that it would be impossible to marry her. Then you’ll find it in Gerda, a woman of good family with a substantial dowry to bring to the House, but cold and distant character.
Christian, in love with theater and worldly pleasures, they will hit squarely and again with his own stubborn ideology. Throughout the work is devoted to discrediting the family with their attitudes, ensuring that no one takes seriously.
Reading is very enjoyable despite the vastness of the novel, the characters are built between the excellent and refined environment descriptions, locker rooms, meetings and cuisine, including, without missing that mixture of piety and conventions always quite contradictory, but in certain sectors continues as valid as at that time.
In the final pages, the story centers on Hanno, son of Thomas and Gerda, last member of the lineage. This is a guy who has inherited the sensitive and artistic vein of his mother, which is very bad for the business of the Buddenbrooks family. The reader becomes involved with her fears and joys, your intense fragility, as opposed to what is expected of him.
The work continues with a constant and uniform pace, stopping to sharpen details here and there but decadent defining a precise way. Thomas, who is in charge of the family business after his father’s death, starring a period of greatness, but can not adapt to the advancement in the society of his time, the business inevitably stagnates as a result of great inner emptiness that begins to move him . Their existence, full of artifice, is inclined to mask the emptiness that invades through excessive and obsessive attitudes, as regards their personal care. The renunciation of individual development for the sake of a more widespread and shallow well, charges a very high on him.
Thus, gradually begins to take a sketch of separation between the normal and the Buddenbrooks-by which they have lived for so long, worrying about appearances and give a prototypical example of the class to which they belong-, and reality begins to transcend them. The slope of the line is overwhelming and devastating.