ANNOTATED BOOK LIST FOR MS. SCISM EN351 AMERICAN LITERATURE Note: Most books have a few sample pages for reading at www.amazon.com. _______________________________________________________________________ • • The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Historical Drama) Miller’s rendition of the Salem Witch Trials. We read this as a class at the beginning of 1st Semester. This play is in our textbook. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Fiction) The story of Jay Gatsby and his pursuit of the American Dream. Set during the 1920s. We read this as a class near the beginning of 2nd Semester. ________________________________________________________________________ PICK AT LEAST TWO MORE FROM THIS LIST: BOOKS RELATED TO THE INDIANS: • The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter (Fiction) The story of a boy raised by Indians who does not want to return to his white family. BOOKS RELATED TO THE PURITANS: • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Fiction) Hawthorne’s classic about a young Puritan woman named Hester Prynne who is forced to wear the letter "A" for having committed adultery. Deals with sin, guilt, and the power of love. NOTE: Contains advanced vocabulary and sentence structure. BOOKS RELATED TO THE REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD: • • April Morning by Howard Fast (Fiction) A coming-of-age story set during the Battle of Lexington. Amistad by Alexs Pate (Historical Fiction) A novel based on the true story of the mutiny on board a Spanish slave ship led by Cinque, a courageous man determined to claim his freedom. BOOKS RELATED TO THE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE: • • • Walden by Henry David Thoreau. (Nonfiction) Thoreau’s famous journal kept during his stay at Walden Pond. Includes many poetic and philosophical passages inspired by nature and solitude. The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee (Play) A dramatic portrayal of Henry David Thoreau's controversial life and thoughts. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Fiction) Hawthorne’s classic about a young Puritan woman named Hester Prynne who is forced to wear the letter "A" for • • • • having committed adultery. Deals with sin, guilt, and the power of love. NOTE: Contains advanced vocabulary and sentence structure. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (Fiction) The classic tale of the mad Capt. Ahab and his pursuit of the White Whale. Part drama, part encyclopedia of whaling. An adventure story that also deals with serious religious issues and conflicts. NOTE: Contains advanced vocabulary and sentence structure. A Collection of Stories by Edgar Allan Poe (Collection of Short Stories) Includes detective stories and horror stories which explore the darkness of the human psyche and imagination. NOTE: Contains advanced vocabulary and sentence structure. Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson (Poetry) The gemlike poetry of a remarkable mind. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (Poetry) Whitman’s epic celebration of America, its people—and of himself. NOTE: Contains a few poems which allude to homosexuality. BOOKS RELATED TO REALISM & THE CIVIL WAR PERIOD: • • • • Narrative of My Life as a Slave (or Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass) by Frederick Douglass (Autobiography) One of the most eloquent indictments of slavery every recorded. An amazing man and an amazing writer. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (Fiction) The story of a scared young man in battle. NOTE: Contains advanced sentence structure. The Awakening by Kate Chopin (Fiction) The story of 28 year old Edna Pontellier, a woman not satisfied with being "just" a mother and wife. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (Fiction) The famous story of Huck and Jim "escaping" down the Mississippi. Considered the American coming-of-age story. Hemingway said all American literature stems from this book. NOTE: Contains the N-word and heavy Southern dialect. BOOKS RELATED TO THE MODERNS or TODAY: • • • • • • • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (Fiction) The story of Jake Barnes and other ex-patriots living in Paris while trying to overcome an inner emptiness. Shows Hemingway’s love of alcohol, fishing, and bullfights. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Fiction) The story of two men who dream of having a better life. NOTE: Contains repeated profanity. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (Play) Uplifting play about a black family fighting racism. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (Fiction) The story of Holden Caulfield and his disgust with a world full of "phonies." NOTE: Contains repeated profanity. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (Fiction) The story of men fighting inner demons and the pressure from society to conform. Set in an asylum. NOTE: Contains some profanity and graphic description. Some sexual references. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Fiction) Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The story of Celie and the numerous obstacles she faces—yet which never kill her spirit. Most of the book is written in the form of letters to God. NOTE: Contains occasional graphic profanity and a brief lesbian affair. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (Non-fiction) The remarkable life of a horse and his jockey who both beat all the odds. A triumph of the "underdog" and the American Dream.
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