Sure, Frederick's our protagonist—center of the action and all that—but he doesn't really do what we want our protagonists to do: progress, make choices, and have insight. In that way, he's kind of an antihero who might seem dull, mediocre, and hard to relate to. This guy is all about romantic clichés and can't get his mind around the social and political realities that are basically right in his face. So even though Sentimental Education is considered a coming-of-age story (check out "Genre" for more on this), Frederick doesn't really meet our expectations for that kind of protagonist. Womp womp.