Home > Free Essays > Literature > American Literature

American Literature Essay Examples and Topics

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.

Paul Bunyan’s Contribution to American Folklore

The history of Paul Bunyan is therefore attributable to the oral traditions of many loggers in Pennsylvania. The character of Bunyan was eventually popularized by William Laughead towards the end of the 19th century.

“Everyday Use” Story by Alice Walker

As a result, she can be considered a reliable narrator as she describes both of her daughters honestly and without skipping over any of the unpleasant bit of their backgrounds such as the fire that [...]

“The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane

The central characters, the correspondent, the captain, the oiler, and the cook, are all survivors of a shipwreck which left them stranded in the water in a small and flimsy dinghy.

“First Person Plural” by Cameron West

The reader, who gets deeply engaged in the narrative, feels a kind of false hope that Cameron is going to get better when he leaves for California with his family and starts to undergo treatment [...]

“Song of Solomon” by Toni Morrison

Ruth did not abandon her affection for her father even as an adolescent, their goodnight kiss ritual, motivated by her seeing her mother as a rival due to the latter's lack of maternal care, was [...]

“Tortilla Flat” by John Steinbeck

One of the most notable aspects of a contemporary living in the West is that, as time goes on, more and more people tend to adopt a highly individualistic approach to addressing life-challenges while assuming [...]

The Green Mile: Interview with Stephen King

I cannot help but agree with this fact because this powerful combination of the novel and the movie helps to understand each character better, develop a personal attitude to the author of the novel, and [...]

“Travels With Charley” a Book by John Steinbeck

Although his participation is sometimes attributed to the author's fascination with dogs, Charley actually serves two functions in the novel: he is an important character that helps to highlight the author's point and a plot-forming [...]

“Be Safe I Love You” a Book by Cara Hoffman

As a rule, this is accomplished by the mean of the author encouraging readers to recognize the societal implications of the abstractly sounding terms and notions, which have a great effect on the unraveling of [...]

“Life After Death” a Book by Damien Echols

Thanks to the newly-attained DNA evidence that pointed at the unknown suspect present at the crime scene, in 2011 the West Memphis Three were able to sign the Alford plea that allowed them to maintain [...]

American South Literature

Some of the most common themes that can be found in Southern literature are dedicated to the dominant religion practiced in this region Christianity, the ethnic communities that inhabit it, class division of the Southern [...]

“Beloved” a Novel by Toni Morrison

The plot of Beloved is rather complex due to the flashbacks that are revealed with the help of storytelling and provide the reader with the opportunity to go back in time for several decades.

“Aurora” by Junot Diaz

Both the dominant role and the level of authority exercised by Yunior's father and his observations of the older boys' attitudes towards the girls share the same set of characteristics and thus can be linked [...]

The Damned Human Race by Mark Twain

This is a clear indication of the great distinction that exists between the higher animals and man. Despite the negative attributes of a man, he is also religious.

“Daisy Miller” a Novel by Henry James

As the representative of literary realism, Henry James in his novel Daisy Miller uses a number of realistic features such as concentration on details, accent on reality instead of reflections and on characters instead of [...]

Early American Literature: Thematic Elements

This paper explores the issue of how these people's ideas contributed to the shaping of the culture of that time. The literature portrayed the ways of life of the early dwellers of America, and it [...]

“Stones and Switches” by Lorne Simon

The main hero of the novel, a young man, named Megwadesk, is plagued by misfortune following him around, and struggles against it as his perceptions of right and wrong are shifting between Christianity, spiritualism, and [...]

20th Century Literature of the American West

The abundance of beautiful descriptions of the nature coupled with limitless opportunities that are beyond the reach of common people make the majority of literary works of the twentieth century a combination of wonderful and [...]

“Planet of Slums” a Book by Mike Davis

In his book, Mike Davis explains to the readers the mechanisms of how slums work, and puts forth an idea that the blame for slums being dangerous and miserable lies not on the inhabitants of [...]

“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck

It also shows that Lennie and George were never going to escape the desperate circle of the routine of their lives."The deep green pool of the Salinas River" that is "still in the late afternoon" [...]

“Legends of the Fall” by Jim Harrison

S, the horrors of the First World War, and the atmosphere of the beginning of the 20th century America. Legends of the Fall tells the readers about the fate of the Ludlow family, consisting of [...]

“The Giver” a Novel by Lois Lowry

Before the Sameness, the world of the book was much like ours. Finally, the central box lists the emotions and sensations, probably the cause most responsible for the occurrence of the Sameness.

“Girl” Story by Jamaica Kincaid

This vision is somewhat old-fashioned, but the meaning behind this is much bigger, as the word "lady" in the context of this short story implicitly represents the depiction of the superlative human personality traits, not [...]

Characters’ Personal Battles: Literature Analysis

Willy, Blanche, and Eben refuse to deal with their struggles, which in turn make them have strained relationships with the people close to them, further worsening their internal struggles because they proceed to lead lives [...]