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Top 33 American Literature Term Paper Topics For High School


The beauty of this list is that there is such a choice of topics. American literature down the centuries has produced some stellar titles with even more recent titles including stage plays as well as novels. The following list is by no means extensive and you can easily locate many more topics especially if you have a favourite author or theme.

  1. Describe the themes of Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
  2. What do female authors have to say on the African American experience?
  3. The major theme of The Age of Innocence
  4. The failed American dream as seen in Death of a Salesman
  5. The American dream as explained in The Great Gatsby
  6. The role of young adults in The Hunger Games Trilogy
  7. Is As I Lay Dying Faulkner’s most important work?
  8. What are the main themes in The Awakening by Kate Chopin?
  9. How is the Depression depicted in Barn Burning?
  10. How was slavery portrayed in Beloved by Morrison?
  11. What is the main feature of the plot of Billy Budd?
  12. Describe the life of the American Indians as portrayed in Black Elk Speaks
  13. How is racism discussed in Black Like Me?
  14. Note the differences between the book and film of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
  15. How were the wars between settlers and indigenous Americans described in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee?
  16. J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is still popular today. Why?
  17. What is the symbolism in Catcher in the Rye?
  18. What are the good and bad qualities of the sisters in Little Women?
  19. What is the conflict facing Lennie in Of Mice and Men?
  20. What personality clashes occur with Captain Ahab in Moby Dick?
  21. Does Hemingway use the same type of character as the protagonist in The Old Man and the Sea in any of his other works?
  22. How is The Catcher in the Rye a social commentary?
  23. Describe segregation as set out in Coming of Age in Mississippi.
  24. How does The Confidence Man rate amongst all of Melville’s novels?
  25. Can a short story convey as much meaning as a novel? Refer to Crane’s Open Boat in your essay.
  26. How is a simple journey made rich in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry?
  27. Are there any lessons for society today in the trials described in The Crucible?
  28. Describe the black and white conflicts in Deesa Rose.
  29. How do the characters change their status in society in The Diamond Necklace?
  30. How are people connected to one another in The Dogeaters?
  31. People are displaced all over the world. Describe how this happens in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
  32. Describe life for the residents of Starkfield in Ethan Frome.
  33. Why is A Farewell to Arms sometimes called a study of doom?

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