The Freshman Literary Experience
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (1960)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a timeless coming-of-age classic. Written in flashback form from first-person perspective, readers visit the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, where they get to know narrator, Jean Louise ("Scout") Finch, and her family and friends. Things start to get interesting when her father is appointed defense attorney for a rape case that is anything but black and white. Scout must learn to navigate the social boundaries of her segregated town while attempting to grow up alongside her imaginative and protective older brother, Jem. For a story about how Jem broke his arm, this piece of the American canon is full of emotion, conflict, and acceptance, and is a must-read for any high school student!
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare (1597)
You may think you already know William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, but many young readers are surprised at the wit, innuendo, and conflict in this popular drama. Romeo, a sixteen-year-old hormonal teenager, finds himself out of luck and out of love as the play opens. Soon, he meets the thirteen-year-old Juliet, and neither of their lives is ever the same! The title characters face many of the same issues that modern teens find themselves dealing with, which is what makes this one of the most accessible of Shakespeare's plays. The dramatic irony in the final scene will leave you screaming at your script (and the playwright)!
The Odyssey - Homer (8th Century BC)
Do you enjoy Greek mythology? If so, then Homer's The Odyssey is the tale for you. Although it is an epic poem, the text reads more like a fiction novel. Odysseus, who has been away from home for the last ten years fighting the great Trojan War, is ready to return home to his wife and son - but the gods seem to have other plans! Throughout the many episodes, readers feel as if they, too, are cursed to wander the open seas with Odysseus until he finally has an epiphany about what it means to be mortal. On your voyage with Odysseus and his crew, you will encounter many gods and goddesses you probably already know, as well as some pretty terrible creatures. Will he defeat the monsters (and his own demons) in time to save his family and his home? Dive in to find out!
The Odyssey en rap.