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Blog category: American Literature

"Ethan Frome" by Edith Wharton

Ethan Frome is the story of a doomed love triangle between a man, his wife and their housekeeper. Given the social conventions of the time, Ethan feels he must stay, trapped in a loveless marriage, rather than pursue his true feelings. Supposedly, the most auto-biographical of all Wharton’s novels, her main character is a man torn between duty and love with disastrous results. He is a truly sympathetic character even though his choices are always wrong. Is this his fault or that of fate? Continue reading .

"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is a modern American Classic and winner of a Pulitzer prize. With an upfront and direct personality and the innocence that is characteristic of children, Scout introduces us to Maycomb with all its qualities, injustices and idiosyncrasies. In her narrative, Scout is not always aware of the many layers of complications existing in the facts she describes, her innocence makes her somewhat naïve, but the incongruence and unfairness of the situation are not lost on the reader. Continue reading .

Review: "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott


Today’s reader might find some aspects of the novel moralistic–however Alcott is never preachy. She broaches subjects such as etiquette, feminine behavior, and the roles of the parent, spouse and child in a happy home. These moral teachings can be used by the reader or disregarded, but the completely genuine way Alcott presents her subject matter makes it easy to digest. If you are open to the advice she is giving, Little Women makes for a wonderful self-help book for women and men of all ages. Continue reading .

"The Professor's House" by Willa Cather

The Professor’s House by Willa Cather was first published in 1925. Split into three parts, the first and last take place in a small college town on Lake Michigan. These two parts tell the story of Professor St. Peter and the changing relationships within his family. The middle section is Tom Outland’s narrative about his adventures in the Southwest where we enter with him into a world of desert mesas and long hidden civilizations. Continue reading .

"One of Ours" by Willa Cather

A winner of the 1923 Pulitzer Prize, One of Ours tells the story of Claude Wheeler, a young Nebraska man who is struggling to find meaning in his life. The novel is divided thematically into two parts. The first part is set in the Nebraska wheat fields where Claude works on his father’s farm. The second part takes place in France where Claude serves in the American army during WWI. Continue reading .

"My Ántonia" by Willa Cather

My Ántonia is a story of many people over a long period of time. Many come and go, some stay throughout the narrative, many softly pass into the background and are not spoken of again. While not the tightly structured narrative that was O Pioneers!, My Ántonia is a quiet story that finds its power through simplicity. Continue reading .

"Three Lives" by Gertrude Stein

Published in 1909, Three Lives was Gertrude Stein’s first published work. The book is made up of three stories: “The Good Anna”, “Melanctha”, and “The Gentle Lena”. The three stories are independent of each other, but all are set in the fictional town of Bridgepoint. Continue reading .

The Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains

The Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains

The book is set amidst the detailed and beautiful descriptions of the Great Smokies, and the mountains serve as a silent character, watching all that happens on her soil. The story centers around the Cayce family and Parson Kelsey who get entangled in the politics that surround the hunt for a fugitive. Continue reading .

Woman in the Nineteenth Century

At the end of her life, age 40, Margaret Fuller had earned the reputation of being one of the most radical and intellectual persons in the English-speaking world. Her book, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and her front page reviews and articles in Horace Greeley’s New York Daily Tribune were read by all Americans who wished to keep up with what was most current. Yet Fuller remains invisible in textbooks today. Continue reading .

Girlebooks Christmas Stories

Happy Holidays, Girlebookers. If you are of the Christmas celebrating sort, may I point out we have two free Christmas-themed ebooks for your reading pleasure. The Romance of the Christmas Card by Kate Douglas Wiggin spans not one but two Christmases and tells of a minister’s wife who is inspired by a real-life scene to … Continue reading .

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