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Themes: Censorship, Education
Symbols: Blood - instinctive self, Mirrors - reflection of mankind today
Characters: Guy Montag - main, Captain Beatty - fire chief, Professor Faber - educator, Mildred Montag - main wife
POV/Tones: 3rd limited omission, Apathetic, Somber
Summary: Guy Montag is a fireman who burns books in a futuristic American city. In Montag's world, firemen start fires rather than putting them out. The people in this society do not read books, enjoy nature, spend time by themselves, think independently, or have meaningful conversations. Instead, they drive very fast, watch excessive amounts of television on wall-size sets, and listen to the radio on "Seashell Radio" sets attached to their ears.
Lord of the Flies
Themes: Loss of Innocence, Anarchy
Symbols: The Conch Shell - leadership, Piggy's Glasses - knowledge, The Signal Fire - meeting, The Darkness - fear, Speared Boar Head - primal self
Characters: Ralph, Jack, Simon,
POV/Tones: 3rd omniscient, Violent, Dark
Summary:Free from the rules that adult society formerly imposed on them, the boys marooned on the island struggle with the conflicting human instincts that exist within each of them—the instinct to work toward civilization and order and the instinct to descend into savagery, violence, and chaos.
Old Man and the Sea
Themes: Honor, Struggle, Determination
Symbols: The Marlin - struggle
Characters: Santiago - old man
POV/Tones: 3rd omniscient, Factual
Summary:After eighty-four successive days without catching a fish, Santiago promises his former assistant, Manolin, that he will go "far out" into the ocean. The marlin takes the bait, but Santiago is unable to reel him in, which leads to a three-day struggle between the fisherman and the fish.
To Kill A Mockingbird
Themes: Social Class, Morals
Symbols: Boo Radley - insinuations
Characters: Scout - main, Boo - ghost, Atticus - lawyer, Jem - scouts childhood friend
POV/Tones: 1st, Innocent, Critical, Dark
Summary: The childhood innocence with which Scout and Jem begin the novel is threatened by numerous incidents that expose the evil side of human nature, most notably the guilty verdict in Tom Robinson's trial and the vengefulness of Bob Ewell. As the novel progresses, Scout and Jem struggle to maintain faith in the human capacity for good in light of these recurring instances of human evil.
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
Symbols: Poison - trickery/decieving
Characters: Romeo - Montague, Juliet - Capulet, Friar Lawrence - marriage priest, Mercutio - clown, Benvolio - diffuser
POV/Tones: Alternating 3rd, Extreme, Violent
Summary: I n the streets of Verona another brawl breaks out between the servants of the feuding noble families of Capulet and Montague. Benvolio, a Montague, tries to stop the fighting, but is himself embroiled when the rash Capulet, Tybalt, arrives on the scene. After citizens outraged by the constant violence beat back the warring factions, Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona, attempts to prevent any further conflicts between the families by decreeing death for any individual who disturbs the peace in the future.
Of Mice And Men
Themes: Instinctual, Love, Strength
Symbols: Crushed mice- unknown power
Characters: George - caregiver, Lennie - retarded
POV/Tones: 3rd omniscient, Depressing, Pitiful
Summary: Two migrant workers, George and Lennie, have been let off a bus miles away from the California farm where they are due to start work. George is a small, dark man with "sharp, strong features." Lennie, his companion, is his opposite, a giant of a man with a "shapeless" face. Overcome with thirst, the two stop in a clearing by a pool and decide to camp for the night. As the two converse, it becomes clear that Lennie has a mild mental disability, and is deeply devoted to George and dependent upon him for protection and guidance. George finds that Lennie, who loves petting soft things but often accidentally kills them, has been carrying and stroking a dead mouse.
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story
Themes: Socialist Corruption
Symbols: The barn - congregation/decisions
Characters: Napoleon - pig, Snowball - horse, Boxer - horse, Old Major - horse, Squealer - pig
POV/Tones: 3rd plural, Objective, Ironic
Summary:There are a number of conflicts in Animal Farm—the animals versus Mr. Jones, Snowball versus Napoleon, the common animals versus the pigs, Animal Farm versus the neighboring humans—but all of them are expressions of the underlying tension between the exploited and exploiting classes and between the lofty ideals and harsh realities of socialism.
Oedipus the King
Themes: Unwritten Law, Limits of Free Will
Symbols: The Three-way Crossroad - three choices
Characters: Oedipus - king, Antigone - incest daughter, Creon - manipulator , Chorus - the people
POV/Tones: 3rd, Tragic
Summary: The climax of Oedipus the King occurs when Oedipus learns, quite contrary to his expectations, that he is the man responsible for the plague that has stricken Thebes—he is the man who killed his father and slept with his mother. The climax of Oedipus at Colonus happens when we hear of Oedipus's death. The climax of Antigone is when Creon, too late to avert tragedy, decides to pardon Antigone for defying his orders and burying her brother.
Themes: Social Injustice
Symbols: Myriels's Silver Candlesticks - compassion, Snakes/Insects/Birds - creatures of the earth/flying above/good and evil
Characters: Jean Valjean - decent to criminal, Cosette - pure goodness, Javert - police, Marius Pontmercy - well-off, Fantine - poor
POV/Tones: 3rd omniscient, Empathy, Outspoken
Summary: The convict Jean Valjean is released from a French prison after serving nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread and for subsequent attempts to escape from prison. When Valjean arrives at the town of Digne, no one is willing to give him shelter because he is an ex-convict. Desperate, Valjean knocks on the door of M. Myriel, the kindly bishop of Digne. Myriel treats Valjean with kindness, and Valjean repays the bishop by stealing his silverware. When the police arrest Valjean, Myriel covers for him, claiming that the silverware was a gift. The authorities release Valjean and Myriel makes him promise to become an honest man. Eager to fulfill his promise, Valjean masks his identity and enters the town of Montreuil-sur-mer. Under the assumed name of Madeleine, Valjean invents an ingenious manufacturing process that brings the town prosperity. He eventually becomes the town's mayor.
Themes: Faith, Humanity, Family
Symbols: Fire - death
Characters: Eliezer - main, Eliezier's father - Jew, Moshe the Beadle -Faithful Jew
POV/Tones: 1st memoir, Personal, Depressing, Painful, Subjective
Summary:Eliezer's story begins in Sighet, Transylvania (now part of Romania; during Wiesel's childhood, part of Hungary). The book then follows his journey through several concentration camps in Europe: Auschwitz/Birkenau (in a part of modern-day Poland that had been annexed by Germany in 1939), Buna (a camp that was part of the Auschwitz complex), Gleiwitz (also in Poland but annexed by Germany), and Buchenwald (Germany).
Things Fall Apart
Themes: Changing Traditions, Masculinity, Language Differences
Symbols: Locusts - Colonization, Fire - Destruction, Drums - Village Heart
Characters: Okonkwo- main, Nwoye - main son, Ezinma -favorite daighter, Mr Brown - priest
POV/Tones: 3rd omniscient, Satirical, Tragic
Summary: On one level, the conflict is between the traditional society of Umuofia and the new customs brought by the whites, which are in turn adopted by many of the villagers. Okonkwo also struggles to be as different from his deceased father as possible. He believes his father to have been weak, effeminate, lazy, ignominious, and poor. Consequently, Okonkwo strives to be strong, masculine, industrious, respected, and wealthy.
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
Themes: Fate, Misinterpreting Signs, Betrayal
Symbols: Wifes - neglected private lives
Characters: Brutus - 'loyal', Cassius - manipulative, Antony - loyal, Octavius - main adoptive son, Caesar - murdered
POV/Tones: 3rd, Secretive, Dark, Conspiring
Summary:Cassius's death (V.iii), upon ordering his servant, Pindarus, to stab him, marks the point at which it becomes clear that the murdered Caesar has been avenged, and that Cassius, Brutus, and the other conspirators have lost in their attempt to keep Rome a republic rather than an empire. Ironically, the conspirators' defeat is not yet as certain as Cassius believes, but his death helps bring about defeat for his side.
All Quiet on the Western Front
Enrich Maria Remarque
Themes: Nationalism, Effects of War
Symbols: Kemmerich's boot - disregard of human life in war
Characters: Paul Baumer - main, Kantorek - nationalistic teacher, Corporal Himmelstoss - cruel army corporal
POV/Tones: 1st, 3rd, Factual, Somber
Summary:Paul and his friends have unwittingly entered a hellish war in which hope for survival is sullied by the knowledge that they have already been mentally scarred beyond recovery.
Themes: Redemption, Loyalty, Love, Acceptance, Brotherhood
Symbols: Cleft Lip - Inferiority
Characters: Amir - main, Hassan - brother, Assef - bully/rapist, Baba - main father
POV/Tones: 1st, Confessional
Summary:After failing to intervene in the rape of his friend Hassan, Amir wrestles with his guilt and tries to find a way to atone for his actions.
The Grapes of Wrath
Symbols: Rose of Shanon's pregnancy - destitute conditions of the time
Characters: Tom Joad - prisoner, Ma/Pa Joad - parents, Jim Casy - 'priest', Rose of Sharon - pregnant sister/wife
POV/Tones: 3rd, Sympathetic, Enraged
Summary: The disastrous drought of the 1930s forces farmers to migrate westward to California, pitting migrants against locals and property owners against the destitute. Moreover, Tom Joad's story dramatizes a conflict between the impulse to respond to hardship and disaster by focusing on one's own needs and the impulse to risk one's safety by working for a common good.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Themes: Racism, Societies Civilized Hypocrisy
Symbols: Mississippi River - freedom
Characters: Huck Finn - kid, Jim - slave, Tom Sawyer - Huck's best friend
POV/Tones: 1st, Innocent, Brave, Wondering
Summary: At the beginning of the novel, Huck struggles against society and its attempts to civilize him, represented by the Widow Douglas, Miss Watson, and other adults. Later, this conflict gains greater focus in Huck's dealings with Jim, as Huck must decide whether to turn Jim in, as society demands, or to protect and help his friend instead.
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Symbols: Uncle Toms Cabin - christian life
Characters: Uncle Tom - slave, Ophelia St. Clare - Ironic Complex, Simon Legree - evil
POV/Tones: 3rd omniscient, All knowing
Summary:Whether practiced by kind or cruel masters, slavery injects misery into the lives of Southern blacks, testing their courage and their faith.
Themes: Immigrant Life, Evils of Capitalism
Symbols: Stockyards - exploitation of workers, The Jungle - Capitalistic survival of the fittest
Characters: Jurgis - ideal, Ona Lukoszaite - wife, Teta Elzbieta L. -stepmother
POV/Tones: 3rd, Critical, Sympathetic
Summary:Jurgis and his family attempt to pursue the American Dream, but wage slavery and the oppression of capitalism shatter every aspect of their lives.
The Scarlet Letter
Themes: Sin, Experience, Punishment
Symbols: Scarlet Letter - Adultery, Pearl - Transgression and Passion
Characters: Hester Prynne - sinner, Roger Chillingworth - co-sinner, Arthur Dimmesdale - scholar, Pearl - daughter of sin
POV/Tones: 3rd, Contemplative, Bitter
Summary: Her husband having inexplicably failed to join her in Boston following their emigration from Europe, Hester Prynne engages in an extramarital affair with Arthur Dimmesdale. When she gives birth to a child, Hester invokes the condemnation of her community—a condemnation they manifest by forcing her to wear a letter "A" for "adulteror"—as well as the vengeful wrath of her husband, who has appeared just in time to witness her public shaming.
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Themes: New Social Classes, Social Order
Symbols: Green Light - hope and love, Gatsbys party - new money
Characters: Jay Gatsby - prohibition advantage, Nick Carraway - bondman, Daisy Buchanan - Gatsby Love
POV/Tones: 1st, 3rd, Contradictory
Summary:Gatsby has amassed a vast fortune in order to win the affections of the upper-class Daisy Buchanan, but his mysterious past stands in the way of his being accepted by her.
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