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AMERICAN DREAM MELTING POT CRISIS OF FAITH VIOLENCE THE COLOR LINE THE FORBIDDEN
Gregory Peck as Ahab in the 1956 film MOBY DICK
Book cover of MOBY DICK.
America's greatest epic, MOBY-DICK can be read as an allegory of the risks in trying to subjugate nature to the will of humanity, a rebellion against the evil and chaos in the universe, and/or a metaphor for the narrator Ishmael's search for the meaning of life.
Book cover of THE SCARLETT LETTER.
Set in Puritan New England in the 1600s, THE SCARLET LETTER is a meditation on the nature of evil. Adulteress Hester Prynne is exiled from the life of the community, and through her suffering comes to know true compassion and empathy.
Book cover of GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN.
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN is James Baldwin's first -- and highly autobiographical -- novel; set in 1935, it tells the story of 14-year old boy living in Harlem and struggling to overcome the past he has inherited from his family.
Photo of Marilynne Robinson.
Marilynne Robinson waited 24 years after the publication of her acclaimed first novel HOUSEKEEPING (1981) to publish her second, GILEAD (2004). She is known for her spare and elegant style and for her focus on the spiritual dimension of life.
Photo of William Faulkner.
William Faulkner gained fame for his novels about the fictional Southern "Yoknapatawpha County" and its county seat of Jefferson. Most of his novels have a serious, even tragic, tone that is nonetheless juxtaposed with comedy.
Ernest Hemingway is famous for his colorful globetrotting lifestyle and his macho, masculine male characters. He wrote with a plain, forceful prose style -- widely imitated ever since -- characterized by simple sentences and few adjectives or adverbs.
Take the Quiz:
What classic novel presents a scathing indictment of early America's Puritan culture?
Symbols:
In this novel by a Southern master of form, water represents cleansing and purity.
To Tell the Truth:
My one great obsession is to find and slaughter the whale that maimed me.
Context & Hypertext:
Review images of James Baldwin's Harlem and Flannery O'Connor's Georgia during the 1930s.
The American Novel