Hey everyone, it has been awhile since I posted here, but honestly it has been a long time since I read anything as well. Basically, I’ve been in school and got so busy that any reading outside of class was out of the question. But now it is Christmas break and I’ve missed the blog, so I’m back!
Without further ado, I am talking about some of my favorite reads from my American Literature class, in no particular order.
Recitatif – Toni Morrison (1983)
This is a short story about two girls, Twyla and Roberta, who meet and become friends in an orphanage, despite the fact they are different races. The rest of the story follows the two women in encounters with each other throughout their life.
This story really focuses on racial issues as well as feminism. The main thing that stuck out to me about this story, and the main reason it is on my list, is that we are never explicitly told which girl is black and which is white. You could examine this story all day and never figure out who is who, and it doesn’t matter to the story at all. It’s inspired, well written, and has some great things to say about culture from the past and today.
The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)
Ok, ok I’ve talked about this before, but it’s one of my favorite short stories I’ve ever read. It follows a woman who has moved into a vacation home with her husband, new baby, and a nanny. The story is told through journal entries written by the woman and we find out some disturbing things about her and her mental health.
Sure I’m a huge fan of dark and creepy stories, so this falls right into my alley, but I don’t think that’s all there is to it. This story was written in 1892, and was WAY ahead of its time with themes of mental illness and feminism. FEMINISM in the 1800’s? Unheard of! This story has more than meets the eye.
As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner (1930)
This is the first (and only) novel on this list and, let’s be honest, it’s because it is the only one I read to completion (sometimes a girl just can’t be bothered).
This story was groundbreaking as it had a TON of points of view, including the point of view of dead woman. The characters are so stupid, but it works beyond being hilarious (which it is).
I would have to say this was my favorite read of the whole semester, and I’m sure I’ll be picking up some more Faulkner soon.
The Life You Save May Be Your Own – Flannery O’Connor (1955)
Speaking of stupid characters, holy cow does O’Connor do stupid well, maybe even the best. I had never heard of O’Conner before this class, but she may be one of my favorite authors now.
This story is about an old woman and her daughter, BOTH named Lucynell, sitting on their porch in the middle of nowhere. The daughter is deaf and obviously has some more mental issues as she does thing like fall out of chairs, while sitting completely still. A one armed man named Mr. Shiftlet comes and does some handy work for the two women. By the end, Shiftlet leaves with the younger Lucynell, as her suitor.
If you’re a fan of cynical literature this is definitely for you, but warning it does not end happily so don’t go in hoping for happily ever after.
A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams (1947)
I must admit, I usually do not like reading plays. The format of them just bugs me, and takes me out of the story. This was not the case with A Streetcar Named Desire.
We follow Blanche, who moves in with her sister, Stella, and her husband, Stanley. Blanche has had a hard past and is a compulsive liar, and this causes her issues throughout the play.
While my synopsis is short, the play is full of content. It has everything I love in a story, mental illness being one. If you haven’t read or seen it, check it out!
That’s all for English class today, friends! Have you read these? If not, you totally should, a lot, if not all can be found online. Hope you enjoyed this long overdue post!