Formal Literary Canon Books
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein has a very powerful message behind it and can really get a reader thinking and questioning the world. There are the big battles which consist of good versus evil, God versus Satan, and humans versus nature. That is a really big battle that happens in a lot of old pieces, good versus evil. This novel has a very good background and is current while also in touch with past literary works. Not only is it very informative, it is a very fun read.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This is definitely a book that can open a person's eyes. The reader gets to see everything through a child's eyes, which really makes it pure and understandable. When things are really simple, they are easier to grasp. This novel teaches younger readers that everyone and everything should be treated fairly and nicely. Along with teaching readers about morals, this book also teaches certain parts of American history, like the civil rights movement. This is a very good book and will always be a classic.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This book transports readers back to the roaring twenties. It really helps show that human nature never changes. There will always be gangsters, flappers, and bankers in our society. This story really reflects the American Dream, as it describes the self made man and his financial stability which shows his freedom. This book really seems to connect with younger readers, probably because they feel like they can reach the point that Gatsby is at and because of the rich party life.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
The whole theme of Macbeth is that greed will get you no where but bad places. This story switches it up with a female antagonist that makes huge decisions in the play, it is very interesting to have such a powerful female lead. Macbeth is pretty much the archetype of a villain protagonist. This action packed novel is full of symbolism and allusions, and is also a fun read for any high school student because it is so full of gore, ghosts, bad decisions, and more!
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Invisible man is all about racism and different roles in society. The main character is never named, and goes through life trying to fulfill different boxes. He is called "school boy" and "fink", yet we never find out what his real name is. This book is good for high school students because teenagers naturally have trouble finding their path in life. This teaches us about the importance of individuality as well.
1984 by George Orwell
1984 is a very science oriented novel and is very interesting and disturbing to everyone who reads it. It carries a very important message about our current society and the lack of individuality. It shows that if the government or any figure has too much control, they become the only ones living in that certain area. Without individuality, no people really exist. It is a very deep book, and a very interesting one.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Lord of the Flies is a very good story because of the characters. They are all very young, and since things are so simple, it is very easy to understand. They end up on an island, and use a conch to become civilized. Even though by the end of the book, they end up being savage beasts. This book shows us that we need roles and rules in society, and that is important for younger people to understand.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
I think Animal Farm is a good book for all to read because it teaches us about having an all powerful leader in society and what would happen. It is very much like 1984 in that it depicts a fictional world with a problem society could face one day. I think this is important for all people to read, because it shows the effects of a constant society.
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet is a timeless love story. Everyone always loves a good love story. Any work by Shakespeare is timeless, and well written. They all carry deep meaning, with allusions throughout. All throughout your childhood, you hear of this story and everyone knows about it. It is very famous, and rightfully so.
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
This novel is very important because it gives us a personal story of a group of people in the war. It helps us realize how terrible wars are. Typically, when you think of a war you just think of soldiers, and it is hard to think of each individual as a person. This book can get everyone thinking about how serious and dangerous wars are, and if we should really be having them.