5. “A Yellow Raft in Blue Water” By Michael Dorris, Published in 1987
Next up, we have this amazing book by Michael Dorris on our list of Top Ten American Literature Classics. Starting in the present and moving backward in time, this is the thrice-told tale of three women–15-year-old part-black Rayona, her American Indian mother, and the fierce and mysterious Ida.
4. “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner, Published in 1930
As I Lay Dying is a 1930 novel by American author William Faulkner. Faulkner said that he wrote the novel from midnight to 4:00 AM over the course of six weeks and that he did not change a word of it. Faulkner wrote it while working at a power plant, published it in 1930, and described it as a “tour de force.” Faulkner’s fifth novel, it is consistently ranked among the best novels of 20th-century literature. The title derives from Book XI of Homer’s The Odyssey, wherein Agamemnon speaks to Odysseus: “As I lay dying, the woman with the dog’s eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades.” The novel utilizes stream of consciousness writing technique, multiple narrators, and varying chapter lengths.
3. ‘The Scarlet Letter” by Nanthaniel Hawthorne. Published in 1850
How can an article about Top Ten American Literature Classics, be complete without The Scarlet Letter. It is a 1850 romantic work of fiction in a historical setting, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and is considered to be his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.
2. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, Published in 1884
We will go into a little detail regarding the next classic on our list of American Literature Classics. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (or, in more recent editions, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among theGreat American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective). It is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Set in a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathingsatire on entrenched attitudes, particularly racism. Perennially popular with readers, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has also been the continued object of study by literary critics since its publication. It was criticized upon release because of its coarse language and became even more controversial in the 20th century because of its perceived use of racial stereotypes and because of its frequent use of the racial slur “nigger”, despite strong arguments that the protagonist and the tenor of the book are anti-racist.
1. “Tales of the Jazz Age” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Published in 1922
Last but not the least, in order to assure that we have a little more than just ten stories for you on this list of top ten american literature classics, we have included Tales of the Jazz Age (1922), which is a collection of eleven short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Divided into three separate parts, according to subject matter, it includes one of his better-known short stories, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. All of the stories had been published earlier, independently, in either Metropolitan Magazine (New York), Saturday Evening Post, Smart Set, Collier’s, Chicago Sunday Tribune, or Vanity Fair.