One of many masterpieces by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment follows Rodya, a Russian college-age man who has kind of a weird concept of power and morality, which leads to him killing an old lady. The entire book is about secrecy and madness and in the end, redemption. The other central character is Sonya, a prostitute who holds to Christianity as a way out of her problems. I read this book in my AP Lit class senior year, and I ended up really liking it.
Why? Well, it presents a lot of questions about morality and such, which are fascinating. It's also very dramatic and fun. But the best part to me is the incredible amount of Christian idealism and iconography in this novel. The ideals of Christianity and love shown in the conclusion of the story fit my own ideas well. It's just the kind of effect I wish for my own work.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an interesting depiction of the Roaring 20s, following a few central characters. The point of view is from Nick, who isn't really that interesting. The two characters who fascinate me are Gatsby and Daisy. The story revolves around their romance in the past and present, and especially on Gatsby's great idealism and dreams.
I read this in AP English my junior year, and honestly, you would think I wouldn't like it. It has some awkward content, and it's not a very happy book. But somehow, Gatsby's idealism, even though it doesn't win out, hit me really hard. I'm an idealist and a romantic too. I do recognize the impossibility of many dreams and the loss of the past, but somehow... I feel like he fits me.
This game changer of a book by Harper Lee explores, from a child's view, issues of morality, disability, racism, and compassion. The story, which is set in the Great Depression, follows Scout, a fun little girl who is quite relatable, as she deals with fears of a strange neighbor, Boo Radley, and with her father Atticus's attempt to save a black man from an unfair trial.
I read this in 8th grade for school, and I really enjoyed it. Scout's perspective is a great one to look at the story from. Her determination and spunk are inspiring. The issues addressed in the novel, and how they are addressed, are also incredible. My favorite thing is in the story of Boo Radley. As a promoter of disabled rights with personal experience, this take on a disabled man and his actual good in the world is fantastic to me.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is my favorite classics of all time. It's the story of an adulteress, Hester, in Puritan American raising her child, Pearl. The town treats her as an outcast and searches for Pearl's father to take up the punishment with her. The symbol of Hester's sin is a red "A" pinned to her chest.
I read this independently over a summer, and then again in AP English my junior year. I find that the Romantic style of novel fits me greatly. I love the machinations of the characters. I love the sense of guilt and mercy that the novel points out. I love the ending and the look at Pearl's life. Most of all, I love the duality of the book. The entire story is full of uncertain possibilities. There is so much occult questioning. You see letters in the sky that could be real or could just be a manifestation of a character's psychological guilt. Brooks and streams act in strange ways. Pearl herself appears to be almost a fantastical creature.
Hawthorne never gives you reason to be sure any of it is real. And I love that. I love that so much.
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
- Hamlet by Shakespeare
- Medea by Euripides
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