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Junior Theme Book Ideas


Cold Mountain. by Charles Frazier ... Cat's Cradle. by Kurt Vonnegut. Plot Background: search for ice that freezes at room temperature ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Junior Theme Book Ideas

Junior Theme Book Ideas
  • Mr. Mortier

  • War Experience
  • Women in Conflict with Societys Expectations
  • Wild West and Wilderness Experience
  • Baseball All American Sport
  • 1920s Expatriate Generation
  • Chicago Experience
  • American Frontier/Social Protest
  • Racial Tension and Identity
  • Southern Issues
  • Immigrant Experience
  • American Family
  • Americas Role in the World

The War Experience
Cold Mountainby Charles Frazier
  • Plot Background wounded soldier decides to walk
    back home to the Blue Ridge Mts. of North
    Carolina and the woman he loves.
  • Author Background His first novel, taught and
    lives in North Carolina.
  • Historical Setting Civil War Era

Catch-22by Joseph Heller
  • Plot Background satirical war novel, World War
    II bombardier feigns insanity in order to get
  • Author Background Heller served as a B-25 wing
    bombardier in World War II, flew sixty missions
  • Historical Period 1944, Final Months of World
    War II

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Plot Background war novel, life of a soldier who
    survives the bombing of Dresden
  • Author Background Vonnegut served in the US Army
    from 1942-1945, was a POW, and received the
    Purple Heart
  • Historical Period 1945, Dresden, Germany, and
    imaginary planet Tralfadore

In Country by Bobbie Ann
  • Plot Background daughter of man killed in
    Vietnam tries to link with her past
  • Author Background newspaper and magazine writer
  • Historical Period 1984, with flashbacks to the
    Vietnam War

The Things They Carried by Tim
  • Plot Background short stories about soldiers in
  • Author Background served in Vietnam
  • Historical Period Vietnam War

Going After Cacciatoby Tim OBrien
  • Plot Background A solider recounts what happened
    and what could have happened in Vietnam
  • Author Background OBrien served in an Army
    combat unit during a tour of duty in Vietnam
  • Historical Period Vietnam 1969

Pacos Storyby Larry Heinemann
  • Plot Background Vietnam Veteran returns to town
    looking for work and a sense of normalcy.
  • Author Background won the National Book Award in
  • Historical Period post-Vietnam war

Enders Gameby Orson Scott Card
  • Plot Background young people train for alien
    military attack
  • Author Background science fiction writer known
    for his moral themes
  • Historical Period future

Cats Cradleby Kurt Vonnegut
  • Plot Background search for ice that freezes at
    room temperature
  • Author Background mixes science fiction and
  • Historical Period 1960s

Women in Conflict with Societys Expectations
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • Plot Background single woman in wealthy New York
  • Author Background experienced New York
    affluence received Pulitzer Prize for The Age of
    Innocence in 1921
  • Historical Period early 1900s

The Color Purpleby Alice Walker
  • Plot Background Georgia, Tennessee, Africa,
  • Author Background Brought up in the rural South,
    won Pulitzer for this book
  • Historical Background The exploitation of women

The Feminine Mystique
by Betty Friedan
  • Plot Background womens unhappiness in the
  • Author Background feminist organizer, writer,
    and lecturer
  • Historical Period 1960s

The Bell Jarby Sylvia Plath
  • Plot Highly intelligent young woman struggles
    with career choices and her own mental stability
    in the Fifties.
  • Author Autobiographical treatment of Plaths
    very real personal battles.
  • Historical events Conservative era with limited
    choices for women.

Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen
by Alix Kates Shulman
  • Plot Background memoirs of a woman who feels
    trapped in her marriage and her life
  • Author Background feminist writer, her book was
    considered the "first important novel to emerge
    from the Women's Liberation movement."
  • Historical Period late 1960s

The Optimist's Daughterby Eudora Welty
  • Plot Background Laurel visits her dying, but
    powerful Father and finds him married to a
    coarse and shallow woman, who is Laurels age.
  • Author Background Pulitzer Prize in 1973
  • Historical Period New Orleans, Mississippi Delta

The Handmaids Tale
by Margaret Atwood
  • Plot Background futuristic story about womens
  • Author Background prominent Canadian writer of
    many genres
  • Historical Period 22nd century (2195)

The Wild WestThe Wilderness Experience
Undaunted Courageby Stephen Ambrose
  • Plot Background focuses on the exploratory
    journey of Lewis and Clark.
  • Author Background author of several books about
    American History,
  • Historical Setting late 1700s early 1800s

The Oxbow Incidentby Arthur Van Tilburg Clark
  • Setting Nevada
  • Time Period 1885
  • Theme Three cattle rustlers are lynchedjust as
    word comes that they are innocent. Seen as the
    struggle between democracy and totalitarianism

Lonesome Doveby Larry McMurty
  • Setting Great Plains
  • Time Period Late 19th C.
  • Theme Adventures of two former Texas Rangers on
    a cattle drive from Texas to Montana Pulitzer
    Prize winner

Bad LandBy Jonathan Raban
  • Setting Montana
  • Time Period 1909.
  • Theme Congress, lobbied by the railroad, offered
    homesteaders 320-acres. An account of the
    hardships, myths, heroes, heroines and ruin of
    many immigrants.

O Pioneers!by Willa Cather
  • Plot Background Swedish immigrants tame the wild
    land, also, a love triangle in Nebraska
  • Author Background considered this her first
    novel, based on the memories of her youth.
  • Historical Period 1880s immigration, role of

A Lost Ladyby Willa Cather
  • Plot Background story told by a boy in a
    Midwestern town, who admires the gracious ways
    and manners of Marian Forrester
  • Author Background First ever woman to be voted
    into the Nebraska hall of fame
  • Historical Background the decline of the West,

Baseball the All-American Sport
The Naturalby Bernard Malamud
  • Plot Background a superbly gifted natural at
    play in the fields of the old daylight baseball
    era. Filled with magical realism
  • Author Background The Natural was his first of
    eight novels, taught at Bennington College in
  • Historical Period 1930s and 1940s rural vs.
    urban life

Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof
  • Plot 1919 fix of the World Series and its
    attempted cover-up
  • The most thorough investigation of the Black Sox
    scandal on record The Chicago Tribune

1920s Expatriate GenerationEarly 20th Century
This Side of Paradiseby F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Plot Background 1920s, East coast and
    Princeton University
  • Author Background Novelist and screen writer who
    epitomized the Jazz Age
  • Historical Background Lost Generation, Jazz Age

The Sun Also Risesby Ernest Hemingway
  • Plot Background life among the expatriates on
    Paris's Left Bank during the 1920s
  • Author Background winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize
    for Literature

The Maltese Falconby Dashiell Hammett
  • Plot Background mystery set in the underworld of
    San Francisco
  • Author Background former Pinkerton detective
    wrote for pulp fiction magazines
  • Historical Background 1928, prohibition, stock
    market crash

The Chicago Experience
Studs Loniganby James T. Farrell
  • Plot Background Chicagos South Side, 1916-1930
  • Author Background Irish South-Sider who worked
    a wide variety of jobs
  • Historical Background End of World War I,

The Coast of ChicagoBy Stuart Dybek
  • Setting Chicago
  • Time period 1990S 2000S
  • Theme Long stories and short ones. Some read
    like poetry. Life in neighborhoods everywhere

House on Mango Streetby Sandra Cisneros
  • Setting Chicago
  • Time Period Mid-1960s
  • Theme A Chicana feminist, Cisneros writes of
    growing up in Chicagos Mexican- American
    neighborhoods. Deals with ethnicity and sexual

American Social Protest
In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
  • Plot Background California farm area, 1930s
  • Author Background Fruit picker, journalist,
    screen writer, Nobel Prize winner
  • Historical Period Great Depression, rise of the
    American Communist Party

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • Plot Two young men travel across the country in
    search of thrills and adventure.
  • Author Autobiographical novel of Kerouacs
    experiences in the late Forties.
  • Historical events McCarthyism, conformist
    culture in the Fifties when the book was

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
  • Plot Background The semi-fictional accounts in
    the novel are based upon events that occurred
    years after On the Road
  • Author Background concerns duality in Kerouac's
    life and ideals
  • Historical Period late 1950s

Electric Kool-Aid Acid Testby Tom Wolfe
  • Plot Background Ken Keseys psychedelic road
  • Author Background known for New Journalism
  • Historical Period 1960s

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nestby Ken Kesey
  • Plot Background revolution and power struggle
    set in a mental ward
  • Author Background volunteered for government LSD
    experiments worked in a psychiatric ward
  • Historical Period1960s

Less Than Zero and American Psycho by Bret
Easton Ellis
  • Historical Period 1980s
  • Plot Background LA college student experiments
    with drugs alcohol (Less Than Zero).
  • Plot explore depths of insanity as a stockbroker
    by day tortures and murders at night (American
  • Author Background wrote first book when he was

The Gang That Couldnt Shoot Straight by Jimmy
  • Plot Background Dark Comedy about Joe Gallo, a
    New York City gangster.
  • Author Background awarded the Pulitzer Prize
    (1986) writer for several New York City
  • Historical Period Mafia crime, 1940s 1960s

Racial Tension and Identity
  • African American
  • Native American
  • Asian American

Invisible Manby Ralph Ellison
  • Plot Background a young man finds new ways of
    dealing with race and identity
  • Author Background Ellison wrote about the unity
    of the the American experience beyond class, race
    and religion.
  • Historical Period 1940s and Early 1950s, Deep
    South and Harlem.

Uncle Toms Cabinby Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Plot Background Kentucky and Louisiana, explores
    social and psychological problems with slavery
    and injustice.
  • Author Background appalled by slavery, she wrote
    this book as a response. Book sold more than
    300,000 copies in 1852 when it was published.
  • Historical Period The South, late 1800s

Native Son by Richard Wright
  • Plot Background Chicago, 1930s
  • Author Background Moved North as a young man,
    first full-length novel
  • Historical Period Great Black Migration, rise
    of American Communist Party, Great Depression

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale
  • Plot Background Eatonville and the Everglades,
    Florida, 1930s
  • Author Background One of the foremost writers
    of the Harlem Renaissance
  • Historical Background Harlem Renaissance,
    establishment of race colonies, racial politics

Black Like Meby John Howard Griffin
  • Plot Background White writer passes as a black
    man in the South
  • Author Background Life changing experience for
  • Historical Period 1959, racism

Black Boy by Richard Wright
  • Plot Background Mississippi, Arkansas, Chicago,
  • Author Background Grew up in a poor family,
    affiliated with Communist Party
  • Historical Period Era of strong racial
    prejudice, Jim Crow laws, Great Depression

The Bluest Eyeby Toni Morrison
  • Plot Background Told from five perspectives,
    focuses on an 11 year old girl who faces abuse
    and racism.
  • Author Background Toni Morrisons first novel,
    she won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993
  • Historical Period American Midwest, Great
    Depression 1940s

There are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz
  • Plot Background two brothers struggling to
    survive in Chicagos public housing
  • Author Background Wall Street Journal reporter
  • Historical Period 1980s

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • Plot murder of a Kansas farm family
    investigation and trial
  • Author Background Capote is credited with
    inventing the true crime narrative
  • Historical Period 1959

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by
Sherman Alexie
  • Contemporary life on the Spokane Indian
    reservation, through 22 linked stories
  • Basis for the film Smoke Signals

House Made of Dawnby N. Scott Momaday
  • Plot Background Native American World War II
    vet returns to the reservation
  • Author Background Member of the Kiowa Nation,
    winner of the Pulitzer Prize for this work

The Joy Luck Clubby Amy Tan
  • Plot Background Chinese mothers and American
    daughters struggle for understanding
  • Author Background Chinese-American, writes about
    the clash of cultures and generations

Snow Falling on Cedarsby David Guterson
  • Plot Background memories of internment camp on
    an isolated island.
  • Author Background former high school teacher and
  • Historical Period 1940s, flashbacks from 1991
    to 1945.

The Immigrant Experience
Woman Warrior China Men
by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Plot Background growing up in a Chinese-American
  • Author Background Chinese-American teacher and
    college professor
  • Historical Period written in 1976 stories occur

The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
  • Contrast between a family of illegal immigrants
    and a middle-class suburban family
  • Poses questions about immigration, unemployment,
    discrimination and social responsibility

Call it Sleep by Henry Roth
  • Plot Background story told by a young immigrant
    Jewish boy dealing with slum life in New York
  • Author Background published in 1934, Roth was an
    immigrant himself, lived in similar slums.
  • Historical Setting New York, Immigrant Jewish
    life 1911 -1913

When Heaven and Earth Changed Places by Le Ly
  • Non-fiction A Vietnamese woman grows up during
    the Vietnam War
  • Focuses on the individuals emotional and
    physical outcomes caused by the war

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia
  • Fifteen interconnected stories about a
    Dominican-American familys struggles with
  • Four sisters and their parents look back on their
    struggles to adjust to America

Lost in Translationby Eve Hoffman
  • Setting Poland and Vancouver
  • Time Period 1950s
  • Theme Story of a young girl, who immigrated from
    Poland, learned a new language and culture, and
    shares what that experience means.

Southern Issues
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  • Plot Background Georgia cotton mill town, 1930s
  • Author Background First novel at age 23, a focus
    on the grotesque
  • Historical Period Condition of young women and
    Blacks in the Great Depression, growth of radio

A Streetcar Named Desire and a second play by
Tennessee Williams
  • Setting New Orleans
  • Time Period 1940s
  • Theme Dysfunctional family Blanche DuBois,
    despite her poverty and lack of morals, tries to
    live in a gentile fashion

All the Kings Menby Robert Penn Warren
  • Plot Background 1930s, an unnamed Southern
  • Author Background Novelist, poet, scholar,
    university professor
  • Historical Background the Great Depression,
    political corruption in the South

The American Family
Ragtimeby E. L. Doctorow
  • Plot Background stories of average New York
    families woven with celebrities (Houdini, Freud,
  • Author Background born in New York English
    professor at New York University
  • Historical Period early 1900s (but written in

All My Sons and Death of a Salesman by Arthur
  • Author Background Millers dramas explore the
    issues that afflict humanity in post-WWII America
  • Historical Period 1940s, after World War II
  • Plot Background An aging business man discovers
    how his actions have affected his family
  • Or another play like The Crucible

Franny and Zooeyby J.D. Salinger
  • Plot Background two distinct and related stories
    about the Glass siblings
  • Author Background originally published in The
    New Yorker magazine.
  • Historical Background teen angst late 50s early

Nine Storiesby J.D. Salinger
  • Plot Background A collection of short stories
  • Author Background Includes his most famous
    stories A Perfect Day for Bananafish For
    Esme with Love and Squalor
  • Historical Background late 1940s early 1950s

The Housebreaker of Shady Hills by John Cheever
  • Plot Background Collection of short stories
    focusing on the suburb of Shady Hill
  • Author Background Cheever won the Pulitzer Prize
    for The Stories of John Cheever, the American
    Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle
  • Historical Background late 50s early 60s

Rabbit, Runby John Updike
  • Plot Background 3 months in the life of a
    26-year-old former high school basketball player
    and his attempts to escape the constraints of his
  • Author Background Updike won the Pulitzer Prize
    for both Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest
  • Historical Background late 50s early 60s

We Were the MulvaneysJoyce Carol Oates
  • Plot Background ideal family begins to fall
    apart after a traumatic event.
  • Author Background has published a book a year
    since the 1960s
  • Historical Period 1970s

Empire Fallsby Richard Russo
  • Plot Background Explores life in a small, blue
    collar Maine town, where the mill and textile
    industries have closed, leaving behind the people
    and their stories.
  • Author Background lives in Maine winner of
    Puiltzer Prize
  • Historical Background present day

Americas Role in the World
The Plot Against Americaby Philip Roth
  • Plot Background alternate history in which FDR
    is defeated in the presidential election of 1940
    by Charles Lindbergh
  • Author Background winner of National Book Award
    in 1960 for Goodbye, Columbus
  • Historical Background 1940

The Manchurian Candidateby Richard Condon
  • Plot A former P.O.W. is brainwashed and
    programmed to kill a presidential nominee
  • Set during the Cold War (late 1940s)
  • A true thriller with intrigue, suspense, and

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom
  • Plot Background New York Citys social and
    ethnic divisions, told through the downfall of a
    wealthy bond salesman
  • Author Background former reporter credited with
    creating the New Journalism style
  • Historical Period 1980s

Primary Colors A Novel of Politicsby
Anonymous/Joe Klein
  • Plot Background The study of a presidential
    campaign, fictionalization of Bill Clintons run
    for the White House.
  • Author Background Washington D.C. journalist,
    writer for Time Magazine
  • Historical Background 1992 presidential campaign

  • War Experience
  • Women in Conflict with Societys Expectations
  • Wild West and Wilderness Experience
  • Baseball All American Sport
  • 1920s Expatriate Generation
  • Chicago Experience
  • American Frontier/Social Protest
  • Racial Tension and Identity
  • Southern Issues
  • Immigrant Experience
  • American Family
  • Americas Role in the World

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