American Literature Book List for High School
As a high school student, it’s likely that you’ll encounter various literary works from different time periods and genres. But if you’re specifically interested in American literature, it’s essential to have a solid foundation in the classics. Here are some books that you may want to include in your reading list:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Published in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye is a novel that has become a classic coming-of-age story. The book follows the life of Holden Caulfield, a young man struggling with the transition from adolescence to adulthood. The novel raises issues of identity, loss, and disillusionment, making it an essential read for high school students.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Set in the Roaring Twenties, The Great Gatsby is a classic novel that explores the decadence and excess of the era. The story revolves around Jay Gatsby, a wealthy man who throws elaborate parties in an attempt to win back his lost love. The book provides insight into the culture of the time, and the themes of love, wealth, and betrayal make it a staple of American literature.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A powerful novel about racism and injustice in the American South, To Kill a Mockingbird is considered one of the greatest American novels of all time. The book follows the story of Scout Finch, a young girl growing up in the 1930s, and her father, a lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of rape. The book’s themes of tolerance and empathy make it a must-read for high school students.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Set on the Mississippi River in the mid-1800s, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel that explores issues of race, slavery and freedom. The book follows the adventures of Huckleberry Finn and his friend Jim, who is a runaway slave. The novel has been the subject of controversy over the years due to its use of racial language, but it remains an essential read for high school students.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Set in the Puritan community of Massachusetts Bay Colony in the mid-1600s, The Scarlet Letter is a novel that explores the themes of sin, guilt, and redemption. The book tells the story of Hester Prynne, a woman who is publicly shamed and ostracized for having an affair and bearing a child outside of marriage. The novel’s themes are relevant even today, making it an essential read for high school students.
To fully appreciate American literature, it’s essential to read the classics. These timeless works provide insight into the culture, history, and values of America, making them important for young readers to delve into. With this list of books, high school students can begin their journey through American literature and build a strong foundation for their literary education.