10 Timeless American Classics Everyone Should Read

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10 Timeless American Classics Everyone Should Read

Celebrate July 4th with Timeless American Classic Literature 

This American Independence Day, take the opportunity to sample the richness of American literature. Our collection of American classics offers a glimpse into the diverse and compelling stories that have shaped the nation’s literary landscape.

10 American Classics You Should Read At Least Once

By Herman Melville

A gripping tale of obsession and revenge, Moby Dick follows Captain Ahab’s relentless pursuit of the great white whale that maimed him. The novel centers on the crew of the Pequod, delving into themes of fate, humanity, and nature’s power. Melville’s masterpiece cemented its place as a cornerstone of American literature.

By Harper Lee 

Set in the Deep South, this poignant novel tackles racial injustice through the eyes of young Scout Finch. As her father, Atticus Finch, defends a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, the story delves into themes of morality and compassion. Harper Lee’s storytelling and moral courage have made To Kill a Mockingbird a timeless classic that continues to inspire and challenge readers. 

By F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Fitzgerald’s portrayal of the Jazz Age captures the glamour and disillusionment of the American Dream. The novel follows Jay Gatsby’s unrelenting love for Daisy Buchanan, set against a backdrop of opulence and decadence. The Great Gatsby remains an essential read for its critique of society and its beautifully crafted prose. 

By Toni Morrison 

Toni Morrison’s debut novel is a powerful exploration of race, beauty, and identity. The story centers on Pecola Breedlove, an African American girl who yearns for blue eyes, believing they will make her beautiful and beloved. The Bluest Eye delves into the struggles of an African American girl in 1940s Ohio, making it a poignant and essential read in American literature. 

By Mark Twain 

Mark Twain’s adventurous tale follows Huck Finn and Jim, a runaway slave, as they journey down the Mississippi River. The novel is both a thrilling read and a sharp critique of pre-Civil War society, exploring themes of freedom and friendship. Its humor, satire, and deep moral questions make it a cornerstone of American literature. 

By John Steinbeck 

Steinbeck’s epic novel follows the Joad family’s migration from the Dust Bowl to California during the Great Depression. As they search for a better life, they encounter hardship and injustice, reflecting the struggles of the era. The Grapes of Wrath is a poignant exploration of poverty, resilience, and the American spirit, earning its place as one of the greatest American novels. 

By Ayn Rand 

Ayn Rand’s magnum opus is a gripping tale of industrialists fighting against societal constraints in a dystopian America. The novel follows Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden as they struggle to keep their businesses alive amidst an oppressive government. Atlas Shrugged is known for its philosophical depth and its influence on American thought and politics. 

By J.D. Salinger 

J.D. Salinger’s tale of teenage angst and rebellion follows Holden Caulfield after he is expelled from prep school. Wandering New York City, Holden grapples with his disillusionment and search for identity. This classic is a vital exploration of identity, alienation, and the struggles of adolescence. 

By Louisa May Alcott 

This beloved novel follows the lives of the March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—as they grow up during the Civil War. Each sister faces her own challenges and triumphs, reflecting themes of family, love, and personal growth. Little Women is cherished for its depiction of family, love, and the challenges of womanhood, making it a timeless classic. 

By Margaret Mitchell 

Margaret Mitchell’s sweeping historical romance is set during the Civil War and Reconstruction era. The story of Scarlett O’Hara’s love for Ashley Wilkes and her tumultuous relationship with Rhett Butler unfolds against the backdrop of a changing South. Also made into a cinematic classic, this novel remains a monumental work in American literature for its epic scope and memorable characters. 

Each of these American classics offers a unique window into the country’s cultural and historical landscape. Happy reading! 

Love classics? Also read: 10 Must-Read French Classics