Sophomore Book Talk: The Classics (Feb. 2013)Presentation Transcript
Mrs. BernetFebruary 2013
NightBy: Elie Wiesel A terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family...the death of his innocence...and the death of his God. Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary Of Anne Frank, Night awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman By: Ernest J. Gaines Ernest J. Gaines wrote this classic novel about a 110-year-old African-American woman who reminisces about her life, which has stretched from the days of slavery to the African-American militancy and civil rights movements of the 1960s.
All the Kings Men By: Robert Penn Warren "Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Robert Penn Warrens tale of ambition and power set in the Depression-era South is widely considered the finest novel ever written about American politics. All the Kings Men traces the rise and fall of demagogue Willie Stark, a fictional character loosely based on Governor Huey ""Kingfish"" Long of Louisiana. Stark begins his political career as an idealistic man of the people but soon becomes corrupted by success and caught between dreams of service and an insatiable lust for power;” (Follett, Title Peek)
The Joy Luck Club By: Amy Tan Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on whos "saying" the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. Forty years later the stories and history continue. With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery
TheBy: Margaret Atwood Tale Handmaid’s Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining fertility, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now... Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaids Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.
Far in the future, the World Controllers havefinally created the ideal society. In laboratoriesworldwide, genetic science has brought thehuman race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plusmandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks,man is bred and educated to be blissfullycontent with his pre-destined role.But, in the Central London Hatchery andConditioning Centre, Bernard Marx is unhappy.Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude,feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures ofcompulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one ofthe few remaining Savage Reservations wherethe old, imperfect life still continues, may bethe cure for his distress…A fantasy of the future that sheds a blazingcritical light on the present--considered to beAldous Huxley s most enduring masterpiece
Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s,The Painted Veil is the story of the beautifulbut love-starved Kitty Fane. When herhusband discovers her adulterous affair, heforces her to accompany him to the heart of acholera epidemic. Stripped of the Britishsociety of her youth and the small buteffective society she fought so hard to attainin Hong Kong, she is compelled by herawakening conscience to reassess her life andlearn how to love.The Painted Veil is a beautifully writtenaffirmation of the human capacity to grow, tochange, and to forgive
The Maltese Falcon By: Dashiell Hammett When a damsel in distress steps into Sam Spades office spinning a yarn of a kidnapped sister and shady older man, Spade is doubtful but intrigued. Soon, hes pulled into an international hunt for a bird made of gold that leaves a trail of dead bodies, including his partner. A classic crime noir, Dashiell’s masterpiece is a thrill ride from beginning to end.
RebeccaBy: Daphne DuMaurier "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again..." So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past the beeches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast. With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten... her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant—the sinister Mrs. Danvers—still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca... for the secrets of Manderley
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland By: Lewis Carroll First published in 1865, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was an immediate success, as was its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass. Alice begins her adventures when she follows the frantically delayed White Rabbit down a hole into the magical world of Wonderland, where she meets a variety of wonderful creatures, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Cheshire Cat, the hookah-smoking Caterpillar, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts— who, with the help of her enchanted deck of playing cards, tricks Alice into playing a bizarre game of croquet. Throughout her fantastic journeys, Alice retains her reason, humor, and sense of justice. She has become one of the great characters of imaginative literature.
The Catcher in the Rye By: J.D. Salinger The influential and widely acclaimed story details the two days in the life of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield after he has been expelled from prep school. Confused and disillusioned, he searches for truth and rails against the "phoniness" of the adult world. He ends up exhausted and emotionally ill, in a psychiatrists office. After he recovers from his breakdown, Holden relates his experiences to the reader.
Jane Austen…..RULES! Emma PersuasionBeautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is AustensWoodhouse is perfectly content with her life and most adult heroine. Eight years before the storysees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a navalhowever, delights her more than interfering in the officer, Frederick Wentworth, but sheromantic lives of others. But when she ignores the precipitously breaks off the engagement whenwarnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such aattempts to arrange a suitable match for her match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anneprotegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans a deep and long-lasting regret. When latersoon unravel and have consequences that she Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successfulnever expected. With its imperfect but charming captain, he finds Annes family on the brink ofheroine and its witty and subtle exploration of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant inrelationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austens Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension ofmost flawless work. the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?
IvanhoeSir Walter Scott The epitome of the chivalric novel, Ivanhoe sweeps readers into Medieval England and the lives of a memorable cast of characters. Ivanhoe, a trusted ally of Richard-the-Lion- Hearted, returns from the Crusades to reclaim the inheritance his father denied him. Rebecca, a vibrant, beautiful Jewish woman is defended by Ivanhoe against a charge of witchcraft -- but it is Lady Rowena who is Ivanhoes true love. The wicked Prince John plots to usurp Englands throne, but two of the most popular heroes in all of English literature, Richard-the- Lion-Hearted and the well-loved famous outlaw, Robin Hood, team up to defeat the Normans and regain the castle. The success of this novel lies with Scotts skillful blend of historic reality, chivalric romance, and high adventure. (GoodReads)
Crime and Punishment By: Fyodor DostoevskyDostoevsky’s drama of sin, guilt,and redemption transforms thesordid story of an old woman’smurder into the nineteenthcentury’s profoundest and mostcompelling philosophical novel.
Frankenstein By Mary Shelley At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creatures hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein. (GoodReads)
A panoramic satire of English society during theNapoleonic Wars, Vanity Fair is Thackeraysmasterpiece.At its center is one of the most unforgettable charactersin nineteenth-century literature: the enthralling BeckySharp, a charmingly ruthless social climber who isdetermined to leave behind her humble origins, no matterthe cost. Her more gentle friend Amelia, by contrast,only cares for Captain George Osborne, despite hisselfishness and her familys disapproval. As bothwomen move within the flamboyant milieu of RegencyEngland, the political turmoil of the era is matched bythe scheming Beckys sensational rise--and itsunforeseen aftermath.
My Name is Asher Lev By: Chaim Potok Asher Lev grows up in a cloistered Hasidic community in postwar Brooklyn, a world suffused by ritual and revolving around a charismatic Rebbe. But in time his artistic gift threatens to estrange him from that world and the parents he adores. As it follows his struggle, My Name Is Asher Lev becomes a luminous portrait of the artist, by turns heartbreaking and exultant, a modern classic. Are you a Hasidic Jew? Are you an Artist?
The Invisible Man By: Ralph Ellison The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliots The Waste Land , Joyce, and Dostoevsky.
The Metamorphosis By: Franz Kafka With a startling, bizarre, yet surprisingly funny opening, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. A harrowing -- though absurdly comic -- meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation.
In Cold Blood By: Truman Capote On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. Five years, four months and twenty-nine days later, on April 14, 1965, Richard Eugene Hickock, aged thirty-three, and Perry Edward Smith, aged thirty-six, were hanged from the crime on a gallows in a warehouse in the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing, Kansa. In Cold Blood is the story of the lives and deaths of these six people. It created a sensation when it was published serially in "The New Yorker" in 1965 and has been hailed as a masterpiece.
The Moonstone By: Wilkie Collins The Moonstone, a yellow diamond looted from an Indian temple and believed to bring bad luck to its owner, is bequeathed to Rachel Verinder on her eighteenth birthday. That very night the priceless stone is stolen again and when Sergeant Cuff is brought in to investigate the crime, he soon realizes that no one in Rachel’s household is above suspicion. Hailed by T. S. Eliot as ‘the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels’, The Moonstone is a marvelously taut and intricate tale of mystery, in which facts and memory can prove treacherous and not everyone is as they first appear.
The PlagueBy: Albert Camus The story takes place in the Algerian port of Oran, where a ravaging epidemic of bubonic plague has thrown the city into a harrowing agony. Quarantined from the outside world, Oran becomes a prison of death and disease to which each character reacts in his own way.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest By: Ken KeseyBoisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering,Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel has left an indeliblemark on the literature of our time.Here is the unforgettable story of a mentalward and its inhabitants, especially thetyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and RandlePatrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-lovingnew inmate who resolves to oppose her. Wesee the struggle through the eyes of ChiefBromden, the seemingly mute half-Indianpatient who witnesses and understandsMcMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle withthe powers that keep them all imprisoned.
Love in the Time of Cholera by: Gabriel Garcí-a Márquez In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well- born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career hewhiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.
Tender is the Night By: F. Scott Fitzgerald Set in the South of France in the decade after World War I, Tender Is the Night is the story of a brilliant and magnetic psychiatrist named Dick Diver; the bewitching, wealthy, and dangerously unstable mental patient, Nicole, who becomes his wife; and the beautiful, harrowing ten-year pas de deux they act out along the border between sanity and madness. (Amazon)
Maus By: Art SpiegelmanMemoir about Vladek Spiegleman, aJewish survivor of Hitlers Europe, andabout his son, a cartoonist who tries tocome to terms with his father, his story,and with history itself. Cartoon formatportrays Jews as mice and Nazis as cats.
A Clockwork Orange By: Anthony Burgess A vicious fifteen-year-old "droog" is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubricks magnificent film of the same title. In Anthony Burgesss nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him the novel asks, "At what cost?"
1984 By: George OrwellWritten in 1948, 1984 was George Orwells chilling prophecy about thefuture. And while the year 1984 has come and gone, Orwells narrative istimelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of theworld, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish.
Catch-22 By: Joseph Heller Dark humor permeates a savage attack on war in which a flier believes that if he can convince others he is insane he will be sent home. At the heart of "Catch-22" resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. His efforts are perfectly understandable because as he furiously scrambles, thousands of people he hasnt even met are trying to kill him. His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. (GoodReads)
Robinson Crusoe By: Daniel Defoe Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic isle, far away from civilization? Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoes famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being.