Thematic Guide to the American Novel / Edition 1

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This unique resource provides readers with a systematic guide to the central themes in 150 of the most commonly taught American novels. Each of the 50 well written essays identifies and discusses an important theme, such as Alienation, Corruption of Power, and Immigrant Life that recurs in American literature. The pertinence of these themes is examined in a wide range of novels that reflect this country's cultural diversity and that span the many time periods in America's literary heritage. These novels include the canonical and the contemporary, yet they are all works that are accessible and important to students, and were selected in consultation with educators and experts' published curriculum surveys. The organization of this guide allows users to compare and contrast thematically related novels and also provides help in the selection of titles for classroom discussion and assignments.

This thematic guide is organized into 50 narrative essays. Each essay, written expressively with the student in mind, provides in-depth analyses of three American novels. The entries include selected lists of further suggested readings; additional fiction works that relate to the theme explored. Two helpful appendices make this resource even more valuable for the literature collection. One appendix provides additional themes and topics to be explored in the 150 novels. For quick reference, a second appendix organizes the 150 discussed novels alphabetically, identifying both the central and secondary themes for discussion in each. An author/title index, as well as a character/title index, facilitated optimum access to these works.

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Editorial Reviews

Adamson (English, Prince George's Community College) discusses each of 50 theme as it is dealt with in three diverse novels suitable for readers in the final two years of high school and first two years of college. Among the themes are alienation, death, grotesques, love, quests, and the value of land. Each section identifies additional novels that relate to the theme. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313311949
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/30/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

LYNDA G. ADAMSON is Professor of Literature and Chair of the English Department at Prince George's Community College. She has taught American, Children's and Comparative Literature courses and has been honored with the Senate Faculty Excellence Award. She has previously written ten reference books including Notable Women in American History (Greenwood 1999), Literature Connections to American History (1998) and Recreating the Past: A Guide to American and World Historical Fiction for Children and Young Adults (Greenwood 1994).

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Table of Contents

Abandonment 1
Absurdity of War 8
Alienation 15
American Dream 21
Battered Women 28
Being and Becoming 34
Bereavement 42
Betrayal 48
Community 55
Compassion 62
Corrupting Power 68
Courage 75
Cultural Conflict 81
Death 88
Disabled 95
Duty 101
Emotional Abuse 108
Family 115
Fathers and Sons 122
Friendship 128
Greed 135
Grotesques 142
Healers 149
Immigrant Life 156
Imprisonment 163
Independent Women 170
Injustice 177
Journeys 184
Knowableness of God 191
Loneliness 198
Loss 205
Love 211
Male Behavior 218
Masquerading 225
Mothers and Daughters 231
Multiracial Offspring 237
Nature 244
Oppression 251
Outsiders 258
Quests 265
Rejection 271
Responsibility 278
Revealing Family History 284
Search for a Father 290
Search for Identity 297
Storytelling 304
Suicide 311
Survival 318
Trials 324
Value of Land 330
App. A: Additional Suggested Themes and Topics 337
App. B Guide to Suggested Themes in 150 American Novels 347
Author/Title Index 357
Subject and Character Index 367
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