|Title Once and Future King
Author TH White
Main characters Arthur, Merlin, Archimedes, Badger
Issues/themes Education, Perseverance, Prejudice, Coming of age, Gluttony
Short summary Arthur meets Merlin, learns moral lessons (from badgers and fish and ants and birds), and then pulls a sword out of an anvil.
Title To Kill a Mockingbird
Author Harper Lee
Main characters Boo Radley, Atticus, Scout, Jem, Tom
Issues/themes Racism, Coming of age, Justice, Truth, Outcast, Loyalty
Short summary Through the use of children Harper Lee shows to injustice in society. Tom is charged with raping some girl and everyone blindly believed her because he was black. Scout explores the difference between what is easy and what is true. Then Tom got shot.
Title Romeo and Juliet
Author William Shakespeare
Main characters Romeo, Juliet, Capulets, Montegues, Mercutio, Tybalt, The Friar
Issues/themes Love, Pride, Absurdity of young love, Feuds, Revenge, Passion, Loyalty
Short summary They fall in love. Aren’t allowed to. Friar tries to help. Lots of miscommunication. She drinks sleeping potion. He thinks she’s dead. He drinks poison. She finds him dying. She stabs herself. Families make up.
Title The Odyssey (EPIC)
Main characters Odysseus, Penelope, Sirens, Hermes, The lizard and the whirlpool, Tiresias
Issues/themes Adventure, Hubris, Temptation, Self-discovery, Death
Short summary Goes on adventures. Sees lots of stuff. People die. He comes home to Penelope with other men…. Awk. But he gets her back.
Title Oedipus Rex
Main characters Oedipus, Oedipus’ Mother/Wife…Awk, Tiresias, Sphinx,
Issues/themes Irony, Determinism, Incest, Tragedy, Hubris,
Short summary Oedipus hunts the killer of the king. Plot-twist. He is the one who killed the king. He goes back and marries the queen. Plot-twist. The queen is his mom. They have a kid… Awk. He stabs his eyes out with a broach. He banishes himself. Queen hangs herself
Title East of Eden
Author John Steinbeck
Main characters Cathy, Cal, Aaron, Adam, Charles, Lee, Tom,
Issues/themes Timshel, Love, Loyalty, Man v. Nature, Cain and Abel, Denial of self, Family, Betrayal
Short summary Adam and Cathy get hitched. Cathy got pregnant. Adam is the father of Aaron and Charles was the father of cal. Tries to abort. Join a brothel. Runs the brothel (after poisoning her). She gets sick. Cal and Aaron fall in love with Abra. HANDS ARE IMPORTANT. Aaron finds out that Cathy is his mother. Cathy leaves money to Aaron. Cathy dies. Aaron dies in the army.
Title The Inferno
Author Dante Alfredo
Main characters Virgil, Dante, Judas, Satan, Man-Ponies,
Issues/themes Death, Sin, Life, Guilt, Justice, Man v. Supernatural,
Short summary Dante goes through hell. He travels through 9 levels based on the sins committed. He ends in the ninth circle where everything is cold and Satan is holding Judas and some other peoples in his mouth. Resolution: Purgatory
Title Merchant of Venice
Author William Shakespeare
Main characters Shylock, Antonio, Portia, Jessica(Shylock’s daughter), Bassanio, Lorenzo
Issues/themes Pound of Flesh, Greed, Prejudice, Pride, 3000 DUCETS!, Family issues, Legalism
Short summary Antonio borrows money from Shylock because he believes that his ships have been destroyed. Antonio borrows for Bassanio’s sake. Bassanio wins Portia through a riddle with gold, silver, and lead boxes(Twuu Wuv). Antonio is on trial for not being able to pay his debt (Pound of Flesh). Plot-twist. Now Shylock is on trial! Portia dresses up as a guy and does some legal magic. She lawyers Shylock. Can’t take a pound of flesh if you can’t draw blood.
Title Lord of the Flies
Author William Golding
Main characters Ralph, Piggy, Twin(Sam & Eric), Simon, Jack, Pilot
Issues/themes Society, Human Nature, Savagery, Man v. Nature, Coming of Age, The Conch
Short summary Kids crashed on island. They split up into two tribes. They hunt and gather to survive. The fire and Conch represented society. Eyeglasses represent knowledge. They “rape” a pig. Fear drives them nuts.
Title Things Fall Apart
Author Chinua Achebe
Main characters Okonkwo, Okonkwo’s multiple wives, Ikemefuna
Issues/themes Change in culture/tradition, Masculinity, Pride, Cultural differences
Short summary Okonkwo is a wrestler. Okonkwo is exiled. The white missionaries come. Force Christianity/white culture on them. Okonkwo sacrifices his ‘son’ to satify the oracle and gods to put things back together. Okonkwo accidently kills one of the clansmen and then he hangs himself.
Author Ellie Wiesel
Main characters Moshe the Beadle, Eliezer, Tzipora, Martha, Father, Ellie
Issues/themes Coming of Age, Discrimination, Genocide, Faith, Brutality, Hope, Dehumanization
Short summary They live in the ghetto. Their house is raided and then they are taken to the concentration camps and separated by gender. They are worked to death. Camp evacuated and run in the snow. Dad dies. Ellie lives. Lots of death. Symbolic violin.
Title Animal Farm(allegory and satire)
Author George Orwell
Main characters Squealer, Napoleon, Mr. Jones, Boxer, Snowball, Old Major, Clover, Molly, Dogs
Issues/themes Dictatorship, Faith in the government, Power, Freedom v. Oppression, Communism
Short summary The animals chase Jones away because of Old Major’s teaching and stuff. Then Snowball leads them with 10 rules. Snowball is chased away by Napoleon. Napoleon steals the idea to build a windmill from Snowball. It never gets built. The rules change. Napoleon and his followers become ‘human’. Everything is as corrupt if not more than it was from the beginning.
Title Scarlet Letter
Author Nathaniel Hawthorne
Main characters Pearle, Hester Prinne, Minister Arthur Dimsdale, Chillinsworth
Issues/themes Adultery, Gender roles, Religion, Exile, Hypocrisy, Legalism, Church/State
Short summary Hester release from prison (rose bush foreshadowing) with the scarlet letter ‘A’ for adultery. Exiled in a farmhouse far away from society. Has daughter. Daughter=Scarlet letter. Hester is in love still with Arthur. Chillinsworth comes back and is mean to Hester. Arthur’s guilt/Chillinsworth is killing him. Hester and Arthur decide to love each other anyway despite the scrutiny of the town.
Author Arthur Miller
Main characters Abigail, John Procter, Tituba, Elizabith Proctor
Issues/themes Justice, Sanity v. Insanity, Bandwagon, Gender roles, Religious stereotypes, Truth
Short summary Bunch of girls caught in the woods with Tituba. Abigail masks the lie to cover up and then uses it to gain power and get rid of other people. Abigail is the leader of the ‘demon possessed’ girls. Trial. John confesses to adultery. Elizabeth lies to cover up for her hubbie. John is hanged and Elizabeth is saved because she is prego.
Title The Great Gatsby
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald
Main characters Gatsby, Nick, Daisy, Tom, Myrtle, Jordan, Mr. Wilson
Issues/themes Forbidden love, Wealth, Corruption through wealth, American Dream, Cowardice
Short summary Gatsby and Daisy in love when they were young. He couldn’t marry because he was poor. Goes to war. Gets rich to win Daisy back. Daisy gets married to Tom. Myrtle killed by Daisy with a car. Gatsby dies b/c Mr. Wilson shoots him to avenge Myrtle. The end.