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shared3's avatar

Help me pick a book for my english project!

Asked by shared3 (921 points ) February 3rd, 2009

John Steinbeck – East of Eden, TheGrapes of Wrath, Travels with Charlie, The Winter of our Discontent, The Sea of Cortez (not the shorter novels or short stories)
Ernest Hemingway – For Whom the Bell Tolls, Death in the Afternoon, A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises (not The Old Man and the Sea) or the short stories.
William Faulkner – As I Lay Dying, The Reivers, TheSound and the Fury, Absolom, Absolom, Light in August, Go Down Moses, Sanctuary.
Willa Cather – Death Comes for the Archbishop, My Antonia

I’m looking for a book with a lot of interesting to analyze (at a high school/freshman in college level), not necessarily the longest, shortest, or easiest to read.

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25 Answers

KrystaElyse's avatar

Faulkner – The Sound and the Fury

One of my favorites!

vindice's avatar

Willa Cather – My Antonia

eponymoushipster's avatar

hemingway – a farewell to arms

steinbeck – the grapes of wrath

Jeruba's avatar

Steinbeck – East of Eden.

shared3's avatar

If you could, please explain the reasoning behind your suggestion.

KrystaElyse's avatar

It was one of the first novels Faulkner wrote, and in my opinion and others, one of his best. I love the fact that much of the novel is told in a stream-of-consciousness narrative style, in which a character’s thoughts are conveyed in a way similar to the way our minds actually work.

augustlan's avatar

I second East of Eden. One of the best books I’ve ever read, and chock full of symbolism. Not to mention interesting characters.

MacBean's avatar

As I Lay Dying is my favorite of those listed. I mean, come on. A kid accidentally drills into his dead mother’s face through the top of her coffin.

Jamspoon's avatar

I second The Sound and The Fury. It’s a pretty bleak story but, man, the narrative style has to be experienced – extremely well written.

It’s told from four characters’ points of view, they’re all a part of the same family, if I remember correctly it starts with a mentally retarded boy, Benjy I think, then it shifts to his brother who decidedly has it much more together though his intellect and understanding of the world cause him a great deal of grief. I feel that it’s probably the most difficult chapter to read, whereas Benjy’s chapter is initially challenging it picks up a very noticeable rhythm as one reads through. His brother’s chapter is a trick right to the end – to digest it all.

From there it shifts to another brother, who continues to live in the family’s house into adulthood and struggles to control, or rather understand, his teenage daughter.

The final chapter is told from the perspective of the family’s matriarchal servant, ?Rosy? I forget her name, but it’s a pretty strong finish as her point of view is very perceptive and almost seems omniscient in understanding as she’s been with the family from the beginning and witnessed it’s fall from grace.

It’s a good book, it’s set in the southern United States, I think the theme can be called Southern Gothic, or something like that. I don’t want to seem a boon of literary insight as this all just cursory information but if I might have tried to get my point across in fewer words, I would just say that it’s an excellent book and would be a good choice.

basp's avatar

Most any Faulkner piece of work will give you plenty of material for an English project. Faulkner’s work is rich with symbolism, he uses the juxposition of extremes to make points that are basic to humans regardless of time.
Having said all of that, Lawence’s “rockinghorse winner” is also a great piece for an English project. The child’s quest to take care of his mother and the underlying sexual implications can be analyzed in several different directions.
Good luck on your project.

Grisson's avatar

These are all excellent 20th century American classics. Flip a coin, draw straws. You can’t go wrong.

gailcalled's avatar

Reminder; Ask us a question, please. I’d pick East of Eden or The Grapes of Wrath.

blondie411's avatar

I agree with GC, I remember my reading experience being a bit different when reading any and all of Faulkner’s work. I didn’t enjoy it as much. However I believe these are all just opinions and each one of these books are great classics and should be read no matter if they are for a class or not. I would go with The Grapes of Wrath

Supergirl's avatar

I agree with Grapes of Wrath, lots to write about there and it is a really engaging story.

clairedete's avatar

Athem – Ayn Rand
Short, easy read, so much symbolism, lots to think about as far as sex roles.

Nimis's avatar

That book isn’t on the list the OP provided.
Not to mention Rand isn’t even worthy to keep
company with Steinbeck, Hemingway, or Faulkner.

greylady's avatar

It might be best for you to read about 3 of them, each by a different author, and then make up your mind. Your time won’t be wasted! (at least not if you avoid Hemingway, in my opinion.)

boffin's avatar

Here’s one I did long ago in High School
Compare Homer’s “The Odyssey” with “Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame….

marauder76's avatar

you’re not going to go wrong with any of the hemingway. i’d recommend Farewell to Arms if you’ve not read any of his stuff. My Antonia is also terrific, and appropriate for someone at your grade level.

BUT HEED MY WORDS, CHILD: AVOID ABSALOM, ABSALOM AT ALL COSTS. this is probably the worst “great” book i’ve ever read. it’s certainly going to be too difficult for a high school student.

Jeruba's avatar

Thank goodness somebody said it. Even one Absalom was too many for me.

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba: Aren’t you supposed to be in a remote log cabin somewhere, splitting logs, eating baked beans out of cans, and writing your memoirs?

Jeruba's avatar

I am! No baked beans, though. I am in a rustic cottage in the Santa Cruz mountains, the same place where I went on writing retreat for six weeks in 2007. But we have kitchen facilities and eat quite decently here. Last night we went for our one dinner out, and I had some absolutely delicious lobster and shrimp ravioli, a nice glass (actually two) of local chardonnay, and some chocolate gelato for dessert. I’m roughing it, though: laptop computer, hard-bottomed chair. And writing. Some of it on fluther…

SeventhSense's avatar

Steinbeck- The Grapes of Wrath- probably one of the most beautiful and soulful books I’ve ever read and just an enjoyable read.

Goofykid3435's avatar

The Dresdon Files by somenerdydude look it up to find the author.

MacBean's avatar

Jim Butcher writes The Dresden Files.

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