Thomas Mann’s Novel, The Magic Mountain , is characterized by the opposition of two distinct worlds. A comparative study of various novels that share the ‘two worlds’ motif demonstrates to us that the existence of the two worlds plays an essential role in the Bildungsroman. The experience with the new possibilities of life at the sanatorium has given Hans Castorp, the hero of The Magic Mountain , the access to the ideal world. Towards the end of the novel, Castorp has denied the material understanding of death, love and disease that constitutes the world of reality and has thus attained an inward transcendence, which, as Ying-shih Yü argues, characterizes the Chinese intellectual world. Mann’s conception of Bildung as pointing to socialization, which is exemplified by Castorp’s transformation, is apparently opposed to the notion of Bildung as individualization. What is implied in Castorp’s integration into the historical context, the war, is far from a failure of the Bildung, but the noblest form of its triumph.