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.

The Concept of Identity in The other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

A 2010 nonfiction bestseller The Other Wes Moore: One name, two fates, depicts the true story of two namesakes from Baltimore. The two main characters with identical names pursue very different life paths, which are significantly influenced by their background and upbringing. In such a manner, Wes Moore contends that “public servants – the teachers, […]

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Rural nature has always been a source of inspiration for many American writers. Jon Krakauer is not an exception. Extreme weather and challenging conditions are the perfect backgrounds for exploring people’s psyche. In his famous book Into the Wild, Krakauer studies a story of “a well-educated young man with an above-average intellect and remarkable spiritual […]

The Main Characters and Themes of The Bluest Eye

Introduction At the heart of The Bluest Eye lies a personal tragedy of an eleven-year-old African-American girl, Pecola Breedlaw. Living in the world owned by whites, the protagonist believes that her life would be more comfortable if she looked unique: blue eyes become a symbol of the desired appearance. After experiencing several terrifying incidents, such […]

Moral of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

Introduction Usually, authors of the most outstanding pieces of literature explain their attitudes towards some significant issues with the help of dozens of chapters and hundreds of pages. Many people believe that it is impossible to create a full-fledged literary work consisting of just a few pages except for stories for children and rhymes. However, […]

A Lesson Before Dying: Summary, Characters, Theme, and Personal Opinion

The issue of racism is prevailing in Gaines’s novel A Lesson Before Dying, wherein the author casts a shadow on the generalized attitudes toward black people in the American South of the post-WWII period. Wrongly accused of the crime by the all-white jury, the protagonist of the story is sentenced to death, facing racial discrimination […]

The Coming of Age in Mississippi memoir by Anne Moody

Introduction The Coming of Age in Mississippi is one of the most influential pieces in African-American literature born in the period of active fighting for civil rights, against systematic racism and segregation. It was written and printed in 1968 by Anne Moody, a Black civil rights activist, as a form of autobiography.1 The story takes […]

The Bluest Eye by Morrison: Characters, Themes, Personal Opinion

Introduction Toni Morrison wrote her first and famous novel, The Bluest Eye, in 1970. The author tells the story about the tragic fate and death of Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl whose mother knew that her dark-skinned child would grow up ugly. The Bluest Eye “portrays the tragedy, which results when African Americans have no […]

Into the Wild: Characters, Themes, Personal Opinion

Some people choose unconventional lifestyles to distinguish themselves from others or comprehend the purpose or sense of their existence. Into the Wild, a non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer narrates a story of such a man named McCandless who quit civilized living and started his wild journey across America. This paper will summarize the plot […]

Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway

Summary Published in 1927, Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants” is a pinnacle of conversation; that is, more under the surface of the interaction between a girl named Jig and an American man. At first glance, this seems like a simple, sometimes intense communication between two adults waiting for their train, which is […]

Violence and Justice in The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

The destructive power of the conflict in terms of human history is vividly manifested in The Most Dangerous Game novel written by Richard Connell in 1924. It is a strangely unique short narrative, depicting multiple conflicts throughout the entire plot with the battling nature of the main characters. More specifically, Rainsford, a big-game hunter from […]

Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter: Resilience and Redemption

Introduction Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th-century American writer who remains renowned for his input in the classical literature. Some researchers even phrase him as “one of the most significant and influential writers” of his age (Lei, 2015, p. 2164). Among the legacy of Hawthorne, it is worth mentioning The scarlet letter, a work which became […]

Their Eyes Were Watching God: Summary, Main Themes, and Evaluation

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel written by an African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston. This book secures a special place in American literature and remains the most famous work of the author. In this essay, the summary of the narrative and description of the main characters and themes will be provided. In addition, […]

The Relation between Eliezer and His Father in Night by Elie Wiesel

Night by Elie Wiesel describes the author’s time at Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, where he was sent by the Nazis together with his father, named Chlomo, in 1944. Throughout the months of misery and tortures, Eliezer’s relations with his parent change. To the teenager, the declined and helpless grown-up man becomes a burden, which […]

The Mulatto by Victor Sejour: The Critique of the Slave-Owning Society

“The Mulatto,” or “Le Mulâtre,” is a short story written by the African-American writer Victor Séjour in 1837 that is commonly considered to be one of the earliest fiction works by US-American people of color. The story originally appeared in French, the native language of the author, in the Paris-based journal Revue de Colonies and […]

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 […]