What Are Some Examples of Great American Novels?


Quick Answer

Some examples of great American novels include "Catcher In the Rye," "On the Road" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Both 20th century novels, Jack Kerouac wrote "On the Road" in 1957, and J.D. Salinger wrote "Catcher In the Rye" in 1951. Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" debuted in 1885.

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J.D. Salinger began writing "Catcher In the Rye" before World War II and continued writing it during his deployment in the war. This experience influenced his writing and the character of Holden Caulfield, who starts the book being dismissed from prep school and proceeds to search for meaning in life.

Following Salvatore Paradise and Dean Moriarity, "On the Road" takes readers on a journey through the 1950s beatnik generation themes of jazz, sex, drugs and yearning for new experiences. The characters travel from one coast to another. The book also follows a journey Kerouac himself was having, making it a semi-autobiographical work.

Although considered by Ernest Hemingway as one of the great pieces of American literature, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" found itself on the list of banned books by libraries and schools as early as the year it was published due to the numerous racial epithets. The book follows the journey of Huckleberry Finn and an escaped slave, Jim, as they travel down the Mississippi River.

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