Open-ended Questions for Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition, 1970-2012 1970



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Open-ended Questions for Advanced Placement
English Literature and Composition, 1970-2012


1970. Choose a character from a novel or play of recognized literary merit and write an essay in which you (a) briefly describe the standards of the fictional society in which the character exists and (b) show how the character is affected by and responds to those standards. In your essay do not merely summarize the plot.

1970 Also. Choose a work of recognized literary merit in which a specific inanimate object (e.g., a seashell, a handkerchief, a painting) is important, and write an essay in which you show how two or three of the purposes the object serves are related to one another.

1971. The significance of a title such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is so easy to discover. However, in other works (for example, Measure for Measure) the full significance of the title becomes apparent to the reader only gradually. Choose two works and show how the significance of their respective titles is developed through the authors’ use of devices such as contrast, repetition, allusion, and point of view.

1972. In retrospect, the reader often discovers that the first chapter of a novel or the opening scene of a drama introduces some of the major themes of the work. Write an essay about the opening scene of a drama or the first chapter of a novel in which you explain how it functions in this way.

1973. An effective literary work does not merely stop or cease; it concludes. In the view of some critics, a work that does not provide the pleasure of significant closure has terminated with an artistic fault. A satisfactory ending is not, however, always conclusive in every sense; significant closure may require the reader to abide with or adjust to ambiguity and uncertainty. In an essay, discuss the ending of a novel or play of acknowledged literary merit. Explain precisely how and why the ending appropriately or inappropriately concludes the work. Do not merely summarize the plot.

1974. Choose a work of literature written before 1900. Write an essay in which you present arguments for and against the work’s relevance for a person in 1974. Your own position should emerge in the course of your essay. You may refer to works of literature written after 1900 for the purpose of contrast or comparison.

1975. Although literary critics have tended to praise the unique in literary characterizations, many authors have employed the stereotyped character successfully. Select one work of acknowledged literary merit and in a well-written essay, show how the conventional or stereotyped character or characters function to achieve the author’s purpose.

1975 Also. Unlike the novelist, the writer of a play does not use his own voice and only rarely uses a narrator’s voice to guide the audience’s responses to character and action. Select a play you have read and write an essay in which you explain the techniques the playwright uses to guide his audience’s responses to the central characters and the action. You might consider the effect on the audience of things like setting, the use of comparable and contrasting characters, and the characters’ responses to each other. Support your argument with specific references to the play. Do not give a plot summary.

1976. The conflict created when the will of an individual opposes the will of the majority is the recurring theme of many novels, plays, and essays. Select the work of an essayist who is in opposition to his or her society; or from a work of recognized literary merit, select a fictional character who is in opposition to his or her society. In a critical essay, analyze the conflict and discuss the moral and ethical implications for both the individual and the society. Do not summarize the plot or action of the work you choose.

1977. In some novels and plays certain parallel or recurring events prove to be significant. In an essay, describe the major similarities and differences in a sequence of parallel or recurring events in a novel or play and discuss the significance of such events. Do not merely summarize the plot.

1978. Choose an implausible or strikingly unrealistic incident or character in a work of fiction or drama of recognized literary merit. Write an essay that explains how the incident or character is related to the more realistic of plausible elements in the rest of the work. Avoid plot summary.

1979. Choose a complex and important character in a novel or a play of recognized literary merit who might on the basis of the character’s actions alone be considered evil or immoral. In a well-organized essay, explain both how and why the full presentation of the character in the work makes us react more sympathetically than we otherwise might. Avoid plot summary.

1980. A recurring theme in literature is the classic war between a passion and responsibility. For instance, a personal cause, a love, a desire for revenge, a determination to redress a wrong, or some other emotion or drive may conflict with moral duty. Choose a literary work in which a character confronts the demands of a private passion that conflicts with his or her responsibilities. In a well-written essay show clearly the nature of the conflict, its effects upon the character, and its significance to the work.

1981. The meaning of some literary works is often enhanced by sustained allusion to myths, the Bible, or other works of literature. Select a literary work that makes use of such a sustained reference. Then write a well-organized essay in which you explain the allusion that predominates in the work and analyze how it enhances the work’s meaning.

1982. In great literature, no scene of violence exists for its own sake. Choose a work of literary merit that confronts the reader or audience with a scene or scenes of violence. In a well-organized essay, explain how the scene or scenes contribute to the meaning of the complete work. Avoid plot summary.

1983. From a novel or play of literary merit, select an important character who is a villain. Then, in a well-organized essay, analyze the nature of the character’s villainy and show how it enhances meaning in the work. Do not merely summarize the plot.

1984. Select a line or so of poetry, or a moment or scene in a novel, epic poem, or play that you find especially memorable. Write an essay in which you identify the line or the passage, explain its relationship to the work in which it is found, and analyze the reasons for its effectiveness.

1985. A critic has said that one important measure of a superior work of literature is its ability to produce in the reader a healthy confusion of pleasure and disquietude. Select a literary work that produces this “healthy confusion.” Write an essay in which you explain the sources of the “pleasure and disquietude” experienced by the readers of the work.

1986. Some works of literature use the element of time in a distinct way. The chronological sequence of events may be altered, or time may be suspended or accelerated. Choose a novel, an epic, or a play of recognized literary merit and show how the author’s manipulation of time contributes to the effectiveness of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.

1987. Some novels and plays seem to advocate changes in social or political attitudes or in traditions. Choose such a novel or play and note briefly the particular attitudes or traditions that the author apparently wishes to modify. Then analyze the techniques the author uses to influence the reader’s or audience’s views. Avoid plot summary.

1988. Choose a distinguished novel or play in which some of the most significant events are mental or psychological; for example, awakenings, discoveries, changes in consciousness. In a well-organized essay, describe how the author manages to give these internal events the sense of excitement, suspense, and climax usually associated with external action. Do not merely summarize the plot.

1989. In questioning the value of literary realism, Flannery O’Connor has written, “I am interested in making a good case for distortion because I am coming to believe that it is the only way to make people see.” Write an essay in which you “make a good case for distortion”" as distinct from literary realism. Analyze how important elements of the work you choose are “distorted” and explain how these distortions contribute to the effectiveness of the work. Avoid plot summary.

1990. Choose a novel or play that depicts a conflict between a parent (or a parental figure) and a son or daughter. Write an essay in which you analyze the sources of the conflict and explain how the conflict contributes to the meaning of the work. Avoid plot summary.

1991. Many plays and novels use contrasting places (for example, two countries, two cities or towns, two houses, or the land and the sea) to represent opposed forces or ideas that are central to the meaning of the work. Choose a novel or play that contrasts two such places. Write an essay explaining how the places differ, what each place represents, and how their contrast contributes to the meaning of the work.

1992. In a novel or play, a confidant (male) or a confidante (female) is a character, often a friend or relative of the hero or heroine, whose role is to be present when the hero or heroine needs a sympathetic listener to confide in. Frequently the result is, as Henry James remarked, that the confidant or confidante can be as much “the reader’s friend as the protagonist’s.” However, the author sometimes uses this character for other purposes as well. Choose a confidant or confidante from a novel or play of recognized literary merit and write an essay in which you discuss the various ways this character functions in the work. You may write your essay on one of the following novels or plays or on another of comparable quality. Do not write on a poem or short story.

1993. “The true test of comedy is that it shall awaken thoughtful laughter.” Choose a novel, play, or long poem in which a scene or character awakens “thoughtful laughter” in the reader. Write an essay in which you show why this laughter is “thoughtful” and how it contributes to the meaning of the work.

1994. In some works of literature, a character who appears briefly, or does not appear at all, is a significant presence. Choose a novel or play of literary merit and write an essay in which you show how such a character functions in the work. You may wish to discuss how the character affects action, theme, or the development of other characters. Avoid plot summary.

1995. Writers often highlight the values of a culture or a society by using characters who are alienated from that culture or society because of gender, race, class, or creed. Choose a novel or a play in which such a character plays a significant role and show how that character’s alienation reveals the surrounding society’s assumptions or moral values.

1996. The British novelist Fay Weldon offers this observation about happy endings. “The writers, I do believe, who get the best and most lasting response from their readers are the writers who offer a happy ending through moral development. By a happy ending, I do not mean mere fortunate events -- a marriage or a last minute rescue from death -- but some kind of spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation, even with the self, even at death.” Choose a novel or play that has the kind of ending Weldon describes. In a well-written essay, identify the “spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation” evident in the ending and explain its significance in the work as a whole.

1997. Novels and plays often include scenes of weddings, funerals, parties, and other social occasions. Such scenes may reveal the values of the characters and the society in which they live. Select a novel or play that includes such a scene and, in a focused essay, discuss the contribution the scene makes to the meaning of the work as a whole. You may choose a work from the list below or another novel or play of literary merit.

1998. In his essay “Walking,” Henry David Thoreau offers the following assessment of literature:

In literature it is only the wild that attracts us. Dullness is but another name for tameness. It is the uncivilized free and wild thinking in Hamlet and The Iliad, in all scriptures and mythologies, not learned in schools, that delights us.

From the works that you have studied in school, choose a novel, play, or epic poem that you may initially have thought was conventional and tame but that you now value for its “uncivilized free and wild thinking.” Write an essay in which you explain what constitutes its “uncivilized free and wild thinking” and how that thinking is central to the value of the work as a whole. Support your ideas with specific references to the work you choose.

1999. The eighteenth-century British novelist Laurence Sterne wrote, “No body, but he who has felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man’s mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in a contrary direction at the same time.”

From a novel or play choose a character (not necessarily the protagonist) whose mind is pulled in conflicting directions by two compelling desires, ambitions, obligations, or influences. Then, in a well-organized essay, identify each of the two conflicting forces and explain how this conflict with one character illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. You may use one of the novels or plays listed below or another novel or work of similar literary quality.



2000. Many works of literature not readily identified with the mystery or detective story genre nonetheless involve the investigation of a mystery. In these works, the solution to the mystery may be less important than the knowledge gained in the process of its investigation. Choose a novel or play in which one or more of the characters confront a mystery. Then write an essay in which you identify the mystery and explain how the investigation illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.

2001. One definition of madness is “mental delusion or the eccentric behavior arising from it.” But Emily Dickinson wrote

Much madness is divinest Sense-


To a discerning Eye-

Novelists and playwrights have often seen madness with a “discerning Eye.” Select a novel or play in which a character’s apparent madness or irrational behavior plays an important role. Then write a well-organized essay in which you explain what this delusion or eccentric behavior consists of and how it might be judged reasonable. Explain the significance of the “madness” to the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.



2002. Morally ambiguous characters -- characters whose behavior discourages readers from identifying them as purely evil or purely good -- are at the heart of many works of literature. Choose a novel or play in which a morally ambiguous character plays a pivotal role. Then write an essay in which you explain how the character can be viewed as morally ambiguous and why his or her moral ambiguity is significant to the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary.

2002, Form B. Often in literature, a character’s success in achieving goals depends on keeping a secret and divulging it only at the right moment, if at all. Choose a novel or play of literary merit that requires a character to keep a secret. In a well-organized essay, briefly explain the necessity for secrecy and how the character’s choice to reveal or keep the secret affects the plot and contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole. You may select a work from the list below, or you may choose another work of recognized literary merit suitable to the topic. Do NOT write about a short story, poem, or film.

2003. According to critic Northrop Frye, “Tragic heroes are so much the highest points in their human landscape that they seem the inevitable conductors of the power about them, great trees more likely to be struck by lightning than a clump of grass. Conductors may of course be instruments as well as victims of the divisive lightning.” Select a novel or play in which a tragic figure functions as an instrument of the suffering of others. Then write an essay in which you explain how the suffering brought upon others by that figure contributes to the tragic vision of the work as a whole.

2003, Form B. Novels and plays often depict characters caught between colliding cultures -- national, regional, ethnic, religious, institutional. Such collisions can call a character’s sense of identity into question. Select a novel or play in which a character responds to such a cultural collison. Then write a well-organized essay in which you describe the character’s response and explain its relevance to the work as a whole.

2004. Critic Roland Barthes has said, “Literature is the question minus the answer.” Choose a novel, or play, and, considering Barthes’ observation, write an essay in which you analyze a central question the work raises and the extent to which it offers answers. Explain how the author’s treatment of this question affects your understanding of the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary.

2004, Form B. The most important themes in literature are sometimes developed in scenes in which a death or deaths take place. Choose a novel or play and write a well-organized essay in which you show how a specific death scene helps to illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary.

2005. In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899), protagonist Edna Pontellier is said to possess “That outward existence which conforms, the inward life that questions.” In a novel or play that you have studied, identify a character who outwardly conforms while questioning inwardly. Then write an essay in which you analyze how this tension between outward conformity and inward questioning contributes to the meaning of the work. Avoid mere plot summary.

2005, Form B. One of the strongest human drives seems to be a desire for power. Write an essay in which you discuss how a character in a novel or a drama struggles to free himself or herself from the power of others or seeks to gain power over others. Be sure to demonstrate in your essay how the author uses this power struggle to enhance the meaning of the work.

2006. Many writers use a country setting to establish values within a work of literature. For example, the country may be a place of virtue and peace or one of primitivism and ignorance. Choose a novel or play in which such a setting plays a significant role. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the country setting functions in the work as a whole.

2006, Form B. In many works of literature, a physical journey - the literal movement from one place to another - plays a central role. Choose a novel, play, or epic poem in which a physical journey is an important element and discuss how the journey adds to the meaning of the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary.

2007. In many works of literature, past events can affect, positively or negatively, the present activities, attitudes, or values of a character. Choose a novel or play in which a character must contend with some aspect of the past, either personal or societal. Then write an essay in which you show how the character’s relationship to the past contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole.

2007, Form B. Works of literature often depict acts of betrayal. Friends and even family may betray a protagonist; main characters may likewise be guilty of treachery or may betray their own values. Select a novel or play that includes such acts of betrayal. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze the nature of the betrayal and show how it contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole.

2008. In a literary work, a minor character, often known as a foil, possesses traits that emphasize, by contrast or comparison, the distinctive characteristics and qualities of the main character. For example, the ideas or behavior of a minor character might be used to highlight the weaknesses or strengths of the main character. Choose a novel or play in which a minor character serves as a foil for the main character. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the relation between the minor character and the major character illuminates the meaning of the work.

2008, Form B. In some works of literature, childhood and adolescence are portrayed as times graced by innocence and a sense of wonder; in other works, they are depicted as times of tribulation and terror. Focusing on a single novel or play, explain how its representation of childhood or adolescence shapes the meaning of the work as a whole.

2009. A symbol is an object, action, or event that represents something or that creates a range of associations beyond itself. In literary works a symbol can express an idea, clarify meaning, or enlarge literal meaning. Select a novel or play and, focusing on one symbol, write an essay analyzing how that symbol functions in the work and what it reveals about the characters or themes of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.

2009, Form B. Many works of literature deal with political or social issues. Choose a novel or play that focuses on a political oe social issue. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the author uses literary elements to explore this issue and explain how the issue contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.

2010. Palestinian American literary theorist and cultural critic Edward Said has written that “Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted.” Yet Said has also said that exile can become “a potent, even enriching” experience. Select a novel, play, or epic in which a character experiences such a rift and becomes cut off from “home,” whether that home is the character’s birthplace, family, homeland, or other special place. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the character’s experience with exile is both alienating and enriching, and how this experience illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.

2010, Form B. “You can leave home all you want but home will never leave you.” -- Sonsyrea Tate

Sonsyrea Tate’s statement suggests that “home” may be conceived of as a dwelling, a place, or a state of mind. It may have positive or negative associations, but in either case, it may have a considerable influence on an individual. Choose a novel or play in which a central character leaves home, yet finds that home remains significant. Write a well-developed essay in which you analyze the importance of “home” to this character and the reasons for its continuing influence. Explain how the character’s idea of home illuminates the larger meaning of the work. Do not merely summarize the plot.



2011. In a novel by William Styron, a father tells his son that life “is a search for justice.”

Choose a character from a novel or play who responds in some significant way to justice or injustice. Then write a well-developed essay in which you analyze the character’s understanding of justice, the degree to which the character’s search for justice is successful , and the significance of this search for the work as a whole.



2011, Form B. In The Writing of Fiction (1925), novelist Edith Wharton states the following:

At every stage in the progress of his tale the novelist must rely on what may be called the illuminating incident to reveal and emphasize the inner meaning of each situation. Illuminating incidents are the magic casements of fiction, its vistas on infinity.

Choose a novel or play that you have studied and write a well-organized essay in which you describe an “illuminating” episode or moment and explain how it functions as a “casement,” a window that opens onto the meaning of the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary.

2012.“And, after all, our surroundings influence our lives and characters as much as fate, destiny or any supernatural agency.” Pauline Hopkins, Contending Forces

Choose a novel or play in which cultural, physical, or geographical surroundings shape psychological or moral traits in a character. Then write a well-organized essay in which you analyze how surroundings affect this character and illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole.



Titles from Open Response Questions*
Updated from an original list by Norma J. Wilkerson.
Works referred to on the AP Literature exams since 1971 (specific years in parentheses)
Please note that only authors were recommended in early years, not specific titles..

A
Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner (76, 00, 10, 12)
Adam Bede by George Eliot (06)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (80, 82, 85, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 99, 05, 06, 07, 08,11)
The Aeneid by Virgil (06)
Agnes of God by John Pielmeier (00)
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (97, 02, 03, 08, 12)
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (00, 04, 08)
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (00, 02, 04, 07, 08, 09, 11)
All My Sons by Arthur Miller (85, 90)
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (95, 96, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11)
America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan (95)
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (81, 82, 95, 03)
American Pastoral by Philip Roth (09)
The American by Henry James (05, 07, 10)
Angels in America by Tony Kushner (09)
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (10)
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (80, 91, 99, 03, 04, 06, 08, 09)
Another Country by James Baldwin (95, 10, 12)
Antigone by Sophocles (79, 80, 90, 94, 99, 03, 05, 09, 11)
Anthony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare (80, 91)
Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler (94)
Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer (76)
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (78, 89, 90, 94, 01, 04, 06, 07, 09)
As You Like It by William Shakespeare (92 05, 06, 10)
Atonement by Ian McEwan (07, 11)
Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson (02, 05)
The Awakening by Kate Chopin (87, 88, 91, 92, 95, 97, 99, 02, 04, 07, 09, 11)

B
“The Bear” by William Faulkner (94, 06)
Beloved by Toni Morrison (90, 99, 01, 03, 05, 07, 09, 10, 11)
A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul (03)
Benito Cereno by Herman Melville (89)
Billy Budd by Herman Melville (79, 81, 82, 83, 85, 99, 02, 04, 05, 07, 08)
The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter (89, 97)
Black Boy by Richard Wright (06, 08)
Bleak House by Charles Dickens (94, 00, 04, 09, 10)
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (94, 96, 97, 99, 04, 05, 06, 08)
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (07, 11)
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (95, 08, 09)
Bone: A Novel by Fae M. Ng (03)
The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan (06, 07, 11)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (89, 05, 09, 10)
Brideshead Revisted by Evelyn Waugh (12)
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (79)
Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos (09)
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevski (90, 08)

C
Candida by George Bernard Shaw (80)
Candide by Voltaire (80, 86, 87, 91, 95, 96, 04, 06, 10)
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (06)
The Caretaker by Harold Pinter (85)
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (82, 85, 87, 89, 94, 01, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 11)
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (01, 08, 11)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (00)
Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood (94, 08, 09)
The Centaur by John Updike (81)
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (94, 96, 97, 99, 01, 03, 05, 06, 07, 09, 12)
The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov (71, 77, 06, 07, 09, 10)
The Chosen by Chaim Potok (08)
“Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau (76)
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (06, 08)
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 05, 08, 09, 12)
Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje (01)
Copenhagen by Michael Frayn (09)
The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett (10)
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton (85, 87, 91, 95, 96, 07, 09)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevski (76, 79, 80, 82, 88, 96, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 09, 10, 11)
“The Crisis” by Thomas Paine (76)
The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy (09)
The Crucible by Arthur Miller (71, 83, 86, 89, 04, 05, 09)

D
Daisy Miller by Henry James (97, 03, 12)
Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel (01)
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (78, 83, 06)
“The Dead” by James Joyce (97)
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy (86)
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (86, 88, 94, 03, 04, 05, 07, 12)
Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty (97)
Desire under the Elms by Eugene O’Neill (81)
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler (97)
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (06)
The Diviners by Margaret Laurence (95)
Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (79, 86, 99, 04, 11)
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (10)
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen (71, 83, 87, 88, 95, 05, 09)
The Dollmaker by Harriet Arnot (91)
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (01, 04, 06, 08)
Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia (03)
Dutchman by Amiri Baraka/Leroi Jones (03, 06)

E
East of Eden by John Steinbeck (06)
Emma by Jane Austen (96, 08)
An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen (76, 80, 87, 99, 01, 07)
Equus by Peter Shaffer (92, 99, 00, 01, 08, 09)
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (80, 85, 03, 05, 06, 07)
The Eumenides by Aeschylus (in The Orestia) (96)

F
The Fall by Albert Camus (81)
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (99, 04, 09)
The Father by August Strindberg (01)
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (90)
Faust by Johann Goethe (02, 03)
The Federalist by Alexander Hamilton (76)
Fences by August Wilson (02, 03, 05, 09, 10)
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (03)
Fifth Business by Robertson Davis (00, 07)
The Fixer by Bernard Malamud (07)
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (03, 06)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (89, 00, 03, 06, 08)
A Free Life: A Novel by Ha Jin (10)

G
A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest Gaines (00, 11)
Germinal by Emile Zola (09)
A Gesture Life by Chang-Rae Lee (04, 05)
Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen (00, 04)
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams (71, 90, 94, 97, 99, 02, 08, 09, 10, 12)
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (10, 11)
Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien (01, 06, 10)
The Golden Bowl by Henry James (09)
The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford (00, 11)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (95, 03, 06, 09, 10, 11, 12)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (79, 80, 88, 89, 92, 95, 96, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 10, 12)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (82, 83, 88, 91, 92, 97, 00, 02, 04, 05, 07, 10)
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin (83, 88, 90, 05, 09)
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (87, 89, 01, 04, 06, 09)

H
The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill (89, 0994, 97, 99, 00)
Hamlet by William Shakespeare (88, 94, 97, 99, 00)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (03, 09)
Hard Times by Charles Dickens (87, 90, 09)
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (71, 76, 91, 94, 96, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 06, 09, 10, 11, 12)
The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene (71)
Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen (79, 92, 00, 02, 03, 05)
Henry IV, Parts I and II by William Shakespeare (80, 90, 08)
Henry V by William Shakespeare (02)
A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes (08)
The Homecoming by Harold Pinter (78, 90)
Home to Harlem by Claude McKay (10)
A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipul (10)
House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday (95, 06, 09)
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (04, 07, 10)
The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (89)
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (08, 10)

I
The Iliad by Homer (80)
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (06)
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (10)
In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien (00)
In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (05)
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (76, 77, 78, 82, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 94, 95, 96, 97, 01, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12)

J
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (78, 79, 80, 88, 91, 94, 95, 96, 97, 99, 00, 05, 07, 08, 10)
Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee (99, 10)
J.B. by Archibald MacLeish (81, 94)
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson (00, 04)
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (97, 03)
Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding (99)
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (71, 76, 80, 85, 87, 95, 04, 09, 10)
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (82, 97, 05, 07, 09)
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (77, 78, 82, 88, 89, 90, 96, 09)

K
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (08)
King Lear by William Shakespeare (77, 78, 82, 88, 89, 90, 96, 01, 03, 04, 05, 06, 08, 10, 11, 12)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (07, 08, 09)

L
Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde (09)
A Lesson before Dying
by Ernest Gaines (99, 11)
Letters from an American Farmer by de Crevecoeur (76), 11)
The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman (85, 90, 10)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (08)
Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill (90, 03, 07)
Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe (10)
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (77, 78, 82, 86, 00, 03, 07)
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (85, 08)
The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh (89)
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (95)
“Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot (85)
Lysistrata by Aristophanes (87)

M
Macbeth by William Shakespeare (83, 99, 03, 05, 09)
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (80, 85, 04, 05, 06, 09, 10)
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane (12)
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (87, 09)
Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw (79, 96, 04, 07, 09, 11)
Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw (81)
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (03, 06)
Master Harold...and the Boys by Athol Fugard (03, 08, 09)
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (94, 99, 00, 02, 07, 10, 11)
M. Butterfly by David Henry Wang (95, 11, 12)
Medea by Euripides (82, 92, 95, 01, 03)
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers (97, 08)
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards (09)
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (85, 91, 95, 02, 03, 11)
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (78, 89)
Middlemarch by George Eliot (95, 04, 05, 07)
Middle Passage by V. S. Naipaul (06)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (06, 12)
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (90, 92, 04)
The Misanthrope by Moliere (08)
Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West (89)
Moby Dick by Herman Melville (76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 89, 94, 96, 01, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09)
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe (76, 77, 86, 87, 95, 09)
Monkey Bridge by Lan Cao (00, 03)
The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie (07)
Mother Courage and Her Children by Berthold Brecht (85, 87, 06)
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (94, 97, 04, 05, 07, 11)
Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw (87, 90, 95, 02, 09)
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (97)
Murder in the Cathedral by T. S. Eliot (76, 80, 85, 95, 07, 11)
“My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning (85)
My Ántonia by Willa Cather (03, 08, 10, 12)
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok (03)

N
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (09, 10)
Native Son
by Richard Wright (79, 82, 85, 87, 95, 01, 04, 09, 11, 12)
Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee (99, 03, 05, 07, 08)
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (09, 10)
1984 by George Orwell (87, 94, 05, 09)
No Exit by John Paul Sartre (86, 12)
No-No Boy by John Okada (95)
Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevski (89)

O
Obasan by Joy Kogawa (94, 95, 04, 05, 06, 07, 10)
The Octopus by Frank Norris (09)
The Odyssey by Homer (86, 06, 10)
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (77, 85, 88, 00, 03, 04, 11)
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (01)
Old School by Tobia Wolff (08)
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (09)
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (05, 10)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (0, 121)
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (89, 04, 12)
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (06)
The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty (94)
The Orestia by Aeschylus (90)
Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf (04)
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Othello by William Shakespeare (79, 85, 88, 92, 95, 03, 04, 07, 11)
The Other by Thomas Tryon (10)
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (90)
Our Town by Thornton Wilder (86, 97, 09)
Out of Africa by Isaak Dinesen (06)

P
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (01)
Pamela by Samuel Richardson (86)
A Passage to India by E. M. Forster (71, 77, 78, 88, 91, 92, 07, 09, 12)
Paradise Lost by John Milton (85, 86, 10)
Passing by Nella Larsen (11)
Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen (06)
Père Goriot by Honore de Balzac (02)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (90, 05, 07)
Phaedre by Jean Racine (92, 03)
The Piano Lesson by August Wilson (96, 99, 07, 08, 10, 12)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (02)
The Plague by Albert Camus (02, 09, 12)
Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov (97)
Pocho by Jose Antonio Villarreal (02, 08)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (10, 11, 12)
Portrait of a Lady by Henry James ( 88, 92, 96, 03, 05, 07, 11)
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (76, 77, 80, 86, 88, 96, 99, 04, 05, 08, 09, 10, 11)
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (95)
Praisesong for the Widow by Paule Marshall (96)
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (09)
Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen (83, 88, 92, 97, 08, 11, 12)
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (90, 08)
Push by Sapphire (07)
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (03, 05, 08)

R
Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow (03, 07)
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (87, 90, 94, 96, 99, 07, 09, 12)
The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope (81)
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (08)
Redburn by Herman Melville (87)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (00, 03, 11)
Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie (08, 09)
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy (07)
Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco (09)
Richard III by William Shakespeare (79)
A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean (08)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (10)
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (10)
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (76)
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (03)
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (90, 92, 97, 08)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (81, 94, 00, 04, 05, 06, 10, 11)

S
Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw (95)
The Sandbox by Edward Albee (71)
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (71, 77, 78, 83, 88, 91, 99, 02, 04, 05, 06, 11)
Sent for You Yesterday by John Edgar Wideman (03)
A Separate Peace by John Knowles (82, 07)
Set This House on Fire by William Styron (11)
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (97)
Silas Marner by George Eliot (02)
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser (87, 02, 04, 09, 10)
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (10)
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (91, 04)
Snow by Orhan Pamuk (09)
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (00, 10, 12)
A Soldier’s Play by Charles Fuller (11)
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (81, 88, 96, 00, 04, 05, 06, 07, 10)
Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence (77, 90)
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron (09)
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (77, 86, 97, 01, 07, 08)
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence (96, 04)
The Story of Edgar sawtelle by David Wroblewski (11)
The Stranger by Albert Camus (79, 82, 86, 04)
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (91, 92, 01, 04, 07, 08, 09, 1, 110)
The Street by Ann Petry (07)
Sula by Toni Morrison (92, 97, 02, 04, 07, 08, 10, 12)
Surfacing by Margaret Atwood (05)
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (85, 91, 95, 96, 04, 05, 12)

T
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (82, 91, 04, 08)
Tarftuffe by Moliere (87)
The Tempest by William Shakespeare (71, 78, 96, 03, 05, 07, 10)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (82, 91, 03, 06, 07, 12)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zorah Neale Hurston (88, 90, 91, 96, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11)
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (91, 97, 03, 09, 10, 11)
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (04, 09)
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (06)
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (11)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (08, 09, 11)
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (77, 86, 88, 08)
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (90, 00, 06, 08)
Tracks by Louise Erdrich (05)
The Trial by Franz Kafka (88, 89, 00, 11)
Trifles by Susan Glaspell (00)
Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne (86)
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (92, 94, 00, 02, 04, 08)
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (85, 94, 96, 11)
Typical American by Gish Jen (02, 03, 05)

U
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (87, 09)
U.S.A. (trilogy) by John Dos Passos (09)

V
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (06)
Victory by Joseph Conrad (83)
Volpone by Ben Jonson (83)

W
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (77, 85, 86, 89, 94, 01, 09, 12)
The Warden by Anthony Trollope (96)
Washington Square by Henry James (90)
The Wasteland by T. S. Eliot (81)
Watch on the Rhine by Lillian Hellman (87)
The Way of the World by William Congreve (71)
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (06)
We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (07)
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka (12)
Who Has Seen the Wind by W. O. Mitchell (11)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee (88, 94, 00, 04, 07, 11)
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (89, 92, 05, 07, 08)
The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen (78)
Winter in the Blood by James Welch (95)
Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare (82, 89, 95, 06)
Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor (82, 89, 95, 09, 10)
Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston (91, 08)
The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor (09, 10, 12)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (71,77, 78, 79, 83, 86, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 96, 97, 99, 01, 06, 07, 08, 10, 12)

Z
The Zoo Story by Edward Albee (82, 01)
Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez (95)




 Most Frequently Cited 1970-2012

25 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison


20 Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
17 Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
16 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevski
16 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
16 King Lear by William Shakespeare
15 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
15 Moby Dick by Herman Melville
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
12 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
12 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
12 Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
12 The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
11 The Awakening by Kate Chopin
11 Billy Budd by Herman Melville
11 Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
11 Light in August by William Faulkner
11 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zorah Neale Hurston
10 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
10 The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
10 Native Son by Richard Wright
9 Antigone by Sophocles
9 Beloved by Toni Morrison
9 The Color Purple by Alice Walker
9 Othello by William Shakespeare
9 A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
9 Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
9 A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
8 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
8 Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
8 Candide by Voltaire
8 Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
8 Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
8 The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
8 A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
8 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
8 Sula by Toni Morrison
8 Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
7 All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
7 All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
7 The Crucible by Arthur Miller
7 Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
7 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
7 Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
7 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
7 The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
7 Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
7 Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
7 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
7 The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
7 The Tempest by William Shakespeare
6 A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
6 An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
6 Equus by Peter Shaffer
6 Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
6 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
6 Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
6 Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw
6 Medea by Euripides
6 The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
6 Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
6 Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
6 Murder in the Cathedral by T. S. Eliot
6 Obasan by Joy Kogawa
6 The Piano Lesson by August Wilson
6 The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
6 Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
6 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
6 The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
6 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
5 Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
5 Bleak House by Charles Dickens
5 The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chkhov
5 Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
5 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
5 Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
5 Hamlet by William Shakespeare
5 Macbeth by William Shakespeare
5 Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw
5 Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
5 Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
5 Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

Shakespeare - All Plays Total = 86

2 Anthony and Cleopatra


4 As You Like It
5 Hamlet
3 Henry IV, Parts I and II
1 Henry V
4 Julius Caesar
14 King Lear
5 Macbeth
6 Merchant of Venice
2 A Midsummer Night's Dream
1 Much Ado About Nothing
9 Othello
1 Richard III
4 Romeo and Juliet
7 The Tempest
4 Twelfth Night
4 Winter's Tale

 Classical Greek & Roman Literature = 29

1 The Aeneid by Virgil


9 Antigone by Sophocles
1 The Eumenides by Aeschylus
1 The Iliad by Homer
1 Lysistrata by Aristophanes
6 Medea by Euripides
3 The Odyssey by Homer
6 Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
1 The Orestia by Aeschylus





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