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AMERICAN DREAM MELTING POT CRISIS OF FAITH VIOLENCE THE COLOR LINE THE FORBIDDEN
Author Ralph Ellison
Book cover of THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN.
A coming-of-age story and a mythic tale of death, rebirth, freedom, and bondage, THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN uses slavery as the metaphor for all forms of social bondage and institutionalized injustice.
Book cover of NATIVE SON.
An exploration of inequality and racial conflict, Richard Wright's NATIVE SON is a brutal picture of a poor black man, 20-year-old Bigger Thomas, incited to murder by the oppression and hatred of the white world.
Book cover of THE COLOR PURPLE.
Alice Walker's most famous work and one of the most affecting works of late-20th-century American literature, THE COLOR PURPLE (1982) takes the form, unusual in modern-day Western literature, of an epistolary novel.
Photo of Zora Neale Hurston.
Zora Neale Hurston used her gift for storytelling and interest in Southern black folk customs to collect folktales from the rural south. Her best-known novel tells the story of a young black woman working towards independence and empowerment.
Photo of Toni Morrison.
When Toni Morrison won the 1993 Nobel Prize in literature, the Nobel Committee cited Morrison's work for giving "life to an essential aspect of American reality," and noted that she "delves into the language itself, a language she wants to liberate from the fetters of race. And she addresses us with the luster of poetry."
Photo of James Baldwin.
Novelist, essayist, and playwright James Baldwin wrote about racial conflict and injustice, African Americans' struggle for civil rights, family dynamics, and homosexuality.
Take the Quiz:
Which American classic tells the story of a black man living in the tunnels below New York City?
Symbols:
What novel uses blindness as a symbol for racism?
To Tell the Truth:
The protagonist of this 1970 novel believes she would be beautiful if only she had blue eyes.
Context & Hypertext:
Examine a contemporary satirical cartoon about UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, and read an oral history collected by Ralph Ellison during the 1930s.
The American Novel