American Literature Paper Examples

The process of writing an essay on American literature should begin with the creation of an outline. The structure lists the essential points you want to cover in the paper and provides you with a framework you will use to write it.

The finished result should adhere to the initial list. However, you can modify it if you find new matters you want to discuss.

Without a clear outline, your American literature essay may appear weak and disconnected. A work that has one will appear more interesting and convincing, even if it contains the same ideas.

When writing an outline for an essay, you should first list all of the ideas that come to your mind when thinking of the topic.

They do not necessarily have to be contained solely within the work. For example, you can research the author’s life and identify a connection between his ideas and romanticism.

Then, you will reduce the number of ideas by folding some of them into other, related ones as lesser mentions. Lastly, organize the order in which you will cover the topics so that it follows a logical progression.

Here are some tips for your outline creation:

  • Always include an introduction and conclusion into your outline. They are critical elements for a literature essay.
  • When writing critical essays on American literature, try to associate each major point with an external piece of evidence.
  • Try to choose your themes so that they are connected. This will make it easier to maintain a progression between different topics.
  • Choose your titles and subtitles so that they are clear and concise.

To find American literature research paper ideas and American literature topics as well as samples that illustrate the process of outline creation, visit IvyPanda.

Literature Studies: “Following Tradition” by Simon Bronner

Simon Bronner in his book, Following Tradition: Folklore in the discourse of American Culture, views how Americans have adopted their traditions and, in times of need, altered them to suit the present situations in the new world. Composed of a myriad of communities, America has crumbled with different cultural traditional values, as well as multiculturalism, […]

“The Scarlet Letter” and “The Young Goodman” by Hawthorne

Introduction Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote two stories by the title, “The Scarlet Letter” and “Young Goodman” in which he displays his authorial voice by mirroring the societies from their dark ends as shown by the puritan cultures. In “The Scarter Letter,” Hawthorne employs psychological fiction to display the innate evilness of human beings (Johnson 75). On […]

American Renaissance

Introduction The American renaissance refers to the American literature in the 17th century era from 1840s through the Civil War period. The renaissance was characterized by efforts by American writers to develop literary works that reflect native issues such as American history, local dialect and geography. As such, the themes revolved around scientific progress, abolitionism, […]

Analysis of ‘Rule of the Bone’ by Russell Banks

Introduction The novel Rule of the Bone by Russell Banks highlights various themes that relate to parenthood and children upbringing. The protagonist, Chappie is a perfect teenager whose criminal mentality begins at childhood. Banks uses Chappie to highlight the theme of family institution and the effects of poor parenthood. This book review discusses Banks’ perspective […]

Is the Television Series, Friday Night Lights Literary?

The high school football drama, Friday Night Lights, is a great piece of literary work. This is a great television drama, which reflects different literary characteristics, just like other literary works, such as poems, novels, short stories, paintings, plays, and others (Heffernan 1). While there are non-literary works, they tend to be formal with clear […]

California in the Eyes of Steinbeck and Babb: Time to Pick the Grapes

The epoch of the Great Depression was, doubtlessly, one of the most infamous pages in the U.S. history. However, it did spawn a number of literature pieces devoted to a number of social issues, as well as numerous literature renditions of the supposed end of American society as it was. Steinbeck’s and Babb’s novels, though […]

The power of a folksong in transforming an individual and the relationship between Whitehead’s book “John Henry Days” and Dylan’s folksongs

Introduction A folksong is a song that has the ability to adapt culture, human history, and art. Folksong usually employs the language used by the target audience when conveying its message. Furthermore, many people use folksongs to present their messages, feelings, views, opinions, and suggestions to a certain set of individuals. Significantly, the songs have […]

In Search for the True Meaning of This Land Is Your Land: What the Present-Day Americans Fail to Understand

As inspiring and honest as they were, the songs that Guthrie sang were a product of its era. This Land Is Your Land appealed to the American citizens that needed cooperation in order to stay calm and united in the heat of the fight. Since modern U.S. citizens are unable to re-live the experience of […]

The Role of Animality in Constructing Frederick Douglass’s Identity and the Issues of Liminality in “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” by Frederick Douglass

During the era of slavery, the white slave owners living in the Southern states of the USA were inclined to discuss black slaves as the beings taking the transitional or liminal level of development between animals and humans. However, in his work Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Frederick Douglass represents […]

Frank Conroy’s Memoir: Life Experiments

The life events and situations which can be discussed by some persons as minor or insignificant often influence the people’s life more obviously than any other important and serious event because minor details can provoke people’s thinking of their life, personality, intentions, goals, and visions of the world. Frank Conroy’s memoir Stop-Time (1967) includes a […]

Comparing the Challenges that Being Black Creates for Douglass and Obama

Introduction Many authors have used racism as an important theme in American literature. Many books, poems and other literary works have attempted to portray racism in different ways. However, narratives based on personal experience seem to be one of the best ways of portraying the challenges that being black creates for Americans. The books “Dreams […]

Ambiguity in Henry James’s Novella “The Turn of the Screw”

On its face, Henry James’s novella “The Turn of the Screw” presents an eerie ghost story that has attracted much philosophical, ethical and literal debate since it was first published in the 19th century (Kimbrough 12). The story revolves around the experiences of an unnamed young governess. She is taking care of two children on […]

Single Black Custodian Fathers: Revealing the True Nature of Stressors and the Basic Obstacles

Introduction: About the Chosen Article Prejudice has always stood in the way of efficient communication and developing trustworthy relationships (Chin, 2004). The communication issues between Africa American population and the American population are, unfortunately, no exception to this rule. The current state of affairs is hardly tolerable already; however, when it comes to prejudice standing […]

Summary: “Public and private families: an introduction” and “Public and Private Families: A Reader” by Andrew Cherlin

Introduction to the Sociology of Family Cherlin states that public goods are things that people may enjoy without their contribution in the production process or acquisition (Cherlin, 2013a). According to him, families are public goods because they fit the definition. Some members enjoy them without having to pay. Private goods are those that the owners […]

Critical Book Review: “Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection” by Pamela Collins and Ryan Baggett

Book Summary Authored by Pamela Collins and Ryan Baggett, the book Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection investigates the existing gaps in security systems, the various protection plans, and the projected viable options of ensuring that critical infrastructure of the US is safe and free from any hazard. In the introductory chapters, precise arguments are […]

James Thurber’s Works: “The Catbird Seat” as a Mystery Story

James Thurber (1894-1961) is the prominent American writer and cartoonist who is famous for his ironic short stories with the elements of mystery and life drama. Thurber developed his talent of a writer working as an editor and contributor in The New Yorker magazine where his short stories were regularly published. Such short stories as […]

“The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros

The interconnection between individuals, society and local communities is a network that defines life and choices people make. Every situation is individual and people and their actions are framed by the conditions and circumstances of their personal lives, as well as those of people in the close circle. “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra […]

Analysis of the Characters in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie

Escape from reality because of the impossibility to accept it seems to be the only right choice for the characters of Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie (1944). This play is often discussed as autobiographical because such characters as Tom and Laura reflect the features and qualities characteristic for Tennessee Williams and his sister Rose. The […]

Use of Multi-Genres Characteristics in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

A famous American contemporary writer, Barbara Kingsolver with an assist of her husband Steven Hopp and daughter Camille Kingsolver published the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that touches upon the problems of living a sustainable life. Kingsolver family decided to hold a life of the locavores producing their own healthy organic food. The book Animal, Vegetable, […]

“What We Talk about When We Talk about Love” by Raymond Carver

How do Raymong Carver stories exhibit/manifest familial dysfunction? Raymond Carver has extensively addressed the issue of family dysfunction in his collection of stories. A key indicator of the dysfunction is the inability to talk and lack of communication of feelings among the couples. In fact, most of the couples are only able to talk while […]

Beyond the Obvious: Unraveling Dickinson’s Concerns in “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain”

True to Dickinson’s obsession with the self, “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” is the exploration of a personal experience of a haunting and profound nature: the descent into a complete loss of rational consciousness. In this paper, I will show that in light of the deliberate choice of diction, the metaphorical significance of […]

The Symbolic Significance of the Red Convertible in Louise Erich’s Story

One of the reasons why Louise Erdrich’s story The Red Convertible is being commonly referred to, as such that represents a high literary value, is that the themes and motifs, explored in it, are thoroughly humanistic. That is, they do emphasize the counter-beneficiary effects of people striving to attain a social prominence in the society, […]

The Accidental Bricoleurs’ by Rob Horning

I’ve always thought that Forever 21 was a brilliant name for a fast-fashion retailer. These two words succinctly encapsulate consumerism’s mission statement: to evoke the dream of perpetual youth through constant shopping. Yet it also conjures the suffocating shabbiness of that fantasy, the permanent desperation involved in trying to achieve fashion’s impossible ideals. Forever 21 was […]