Steppenwolf Quotations and Analysis

Quotations and Analysis He went on two legs, wore clothes and was a human being, but nevertheless he was in reality a wolf of the Steppes. He had learned a good deal . . . and was a fairly clever fellow. What he had not learned, however, was this: to find contentment in himself and his … Read more

Key Facts about Steppenwolf

First published in Germany in 1927 and translated into English in 1929, Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf has endured a fairly harsh mix of critical receptions. First criticized as immoral for its open depictions of sex and drug use, these judgements eased as cultural norms began to change by the 1960s. Later critics criticized the novel for being too … Read more

Atlas Shrugged Quotations and Analysis

“But what can you do when you have to deal with people?” This question is repeated in the book. The above is from Dr. Stadler in Part One, Chapter VII. It stems from his belief that most people are not really capable of rational thought. They are basically irrational and must be dealt with manipulative … Read more

Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, first published in 1908, has been considered a classic of children’s literature almost since its original date of publication. A novel which appeals to all ages, it has never dwindled in popularity. The story of an 11-year old girl who is mistakenly sent to a two older people for adoption, … Read more

Key Facts about The Prince

The extreme positions advanced in Machiavelli’s The Prince have been the subject of debate ever since it was written. Scholars in the 18th Century, unable to accept such an unrestrained endorsement of murder and tyranny, made the case that the work was actually political satire. Other scholars insist that though Machiavelli’s ideas are immoral and extreme, they were … Read more

Key Facts about Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables has been so enormously popular that there is literally an entire industry attached to the novel. Museums, replicas of the farm, postage stamps, tourism centers—virtually a world of merchandise, books, and other entertainment media have followed in the wake of this novel. In a 2003 survey called The Big Read, … Read more

The Little Prince Summary

The novel starts as the narrator laments on his childhood as he constantly tried to draw a Boa Constrictor eating an elephant. When he would show grownups his drawing they would constantly assume that it was a hat despite all his efforts in drawing it differently. The grownups around him encouraged him to quit drawing … Read more

Key Facts about To Kill a Mockingbird

When the novel To Kill a Mockingbird was out, it became an immediate success, which greatly surprised its author. However, the reviews varied. Some reviewers liked the author’s style, called her a skilled writer and found the book nationally significant; other found the book childish, melodramatic, or even immoral. Some noted than a six-year-old protagonist cannot think … Read more

As I Lay Dying

Key Facts Full title: As I lay Dying Author: William Faulkner Genre: Satire, rural comedy, tragedy, Southern Gothic Narrator: First person narration, split between fifteen different characters The Movie:  As I Lay Dying is a 2013 American film, directed by and starring James Franco. The movie is largely based on the William Faulkner novel of the same name, originally published … Read more

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Despite having gained minimal traction at the time of original publication, As I lay Dying has come to be regarded as William Falkner’s most prominent novels. Critics and readers alike were confused and put off by the books controversial subject matter, however, modern day readers and commentators have grown to appreciate the strong characters, abstract tone and striking … Read more

The Sun Also Rises

Set in the 1920s, The Sun Also Rises follows the lives of only a few characters who live in Europe in the aftermath of World War I. The novel explores the lives of the so-called Lost Generation, the young people whose lives were determined by the great war and its wreckage. Generally read as a modernist novel, … Read more

Key Facts about Atlas Shrugged

The novel is fundamentally an exploration of Rand’s philosophy of rational selfishness, the belief that all virtue and vice is basically an expression of reason and that we are at root motivated by selfish impulses. To think otherwise is naïve and dangerous. Rand is at great pains to run counter to Marxism and the idea … Read more

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Tess of the D’Urbervilles was first published in bowdlerized form in Graphic in 1891. It was released in book form later that same year. Thomas Hardy, who wrote Tess of the d’Urbervilles, subtitled the novel A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented because the author believed its heroine to be a woman of virtue who had fallen victim to the rigid Victorian moral … Read more

Brave New World Summary

Brave New World begins in what is called the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Centre. Henry Foster, an assistant to the Director, is leading a group of boys on a tour. Henry teaches the boys about the Bokanovsky and Podsnap processes which make it possible for the Hatchery to produce thousands of nearly identical human embryos. … Read more

The Sun Also Rises Summary

The novel opens as Jake Barnes, the narrator, offers an account of his friend, Robert Cohn. Jake is a journalist in Paris; a job he took on after his service in WWI. His friend also lives in Paris, although he is not a war veteran. Cohn is a rich Jewish writer, living in Paris with … Read more

Beowulf Characters and Analysis

Beowulf The epic hero or protagonist. He is hero of the Geats who defeats Grendel and his Ogress mother. He later slays the great dragon. Beowulf’s feats of heroism and tales of his adventures prove him to be a true warrior rather than one who boasts. He is the epitome of a Great Anglo-Saxon hero: … Read more

Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory

Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur is a collection of tales originally in French which tell of the rise and fall of the legendary KingARthur. It includes numerous tales of the Knight of the Round Table and follows the struggles of these knights to uphold a strict code of courtly honor and chivalry. The story … Read more

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s fourth and final novel. It is also her longest. The book combines elements of romance, science fiction, and mystery. The novel is the most extensive fictionalized expression of her philosophy of “objectivism.” Atlas Shrugged tells the story of a dystopian future in which business and innovation are hampered by the … Read more

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

General Introduction Niccolo Machiavelli was a 16th Century political theorist. Since his name is become synonymous with his political theories, the question often becomes who is Machiavelli? But the answer is in the book The Prince.  The Prince was likely written in 1513 in manuscript form and distributed among a few people, but the text as it has come … Read more

Anne of Green Gables Quotations and Analysis

Quotations and Analysis “Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive—it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?” Anne … Read more

Atlas Shrugged Summary

As the novel opens we find Dagny Taggart, vide president in charge of operations, struggling against worsening economic conditions to save Taggart Transcontinental’s Rio Norte Line which provides service to Colorado. This is the last place in America that is experiencing economic growth. She is struggling because, as we find out, the most talented entrepreneurs … Read more

Through the Looking Glass

Shortly after completing Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carrol (the name Charles Dodgson used for a pseudonym) began writing a sequel. This became Through the Looking Glass. Again inspired by young Alice Liddell, Dodgson crafted another magical world of adventure and adversity for a young heroine who must find her own way amid a world which obeys no conventional … Read more

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Published in 1932, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is a dystopian vision set 600 years in the future in which technology has diminished the place of human feeling and human life. The novel envisions a world in which the stability of the state takes precedence over any and all human concerns. This is taken to such and … Read more

Key Facts about Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll, or Charles Dodgson, got the beginnings of Alice in Wonderland during an outing with the three young daughters of Henry Liddell, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and Dean of Christ Church. As they rowed a boat on the river, Dodgson invented the tale to amuse the young girls, and one of them, Alice Liddell, asked … Read more

Key Facts of Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Full Title: Tess of the d’Urbervilles Author: Thomas Hardy Time of Writing: 1880’s, England Date of First Publication: 1891 Setting: Wessex, Southwest of England Conflict: Tess is seduced, left pregnant and then abandoned by the son of a wealthy family, making her true love unable to accept her as worthy later in life.

Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf

Herman Hesse’s 1927 novel, Steppenwolf¸ in many ways expresses the profound doubts and conflicts Hesse went through at the time that he was writing the novel. The book explores the idea that all people have within them multiple and conflicting aspects of their nature. In Steppenwolf, the protagonist seems to be made of two main character types, … Read more

Major Themes of Steppenwolf

Themes Identity Harry sees himself as comprised of two exclusive selves. He is the wolf who longs to be alone and free of societal constraints. Yet he is torn by his other half which identifies with tame bourgeois society. While he longs to break free of culture, he is drawn to culture. His drive for … Read more

The Stranger Keys Facts

First published in 1941, the novel went through several editorial changes due in some part to the explosive nature of the times. The looming threat of Nazi censorship impacted everything in Europe during this time. It was eventually published in 1942 in its final form. The 1946 version translated by Stuart Gilbert became the standard … Read more

The Stranger by Albert Camus

Albert Camus’s The Stranger was published in France in 1942. Although it is a slender and seemingly simply novel, the underlying philosophical message is quite complex. Camus was one of the leading proponents of existentialist and absurdist philosophy. This was a mode of thinking which arose during and immediately following the Second World War in which philosophers … Read more

Le Morte d’Arthur Quotations and Analysis

Quotations and Analysis “Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England.” Obviously the prophecy which foretells the coming of Arthur as the rightful king. The quotations encapsulates the theme of fate which pervades the story. It also demonstrates some of the pre-Christian, pagan dimensions retained in … Read more

Key Facts about The Awakening

The Awakening was the second and last novel written by Kate Chopin who was originally named Katherine O’Flaherty. Chopin was severely criticized for her feminist writing and especially of her portrayal of a woman having extramarital affairs which was considered outrageous at the time. Kate Chopin was brought up in a matriarchal household and was surrounded … Read more

The Things They Carried Summary

“Tim O’Brien”, the protagonist of The Things They Carried, starts by recalling a specific event that occurred in the midst of his experience in the Vietnam war setting. The novel describes the collection of things that his fellow soldiers in the Alpha Company brought along with them on their many missions. Some, for example, carried with them … Read more

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe remains a controversial personality of the Renaissance era. Despite having obtained both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Cambridge University, Marlowe was anything but a reclusive scholar. On the contrary, he was enthusiastically engaged in a number of political, religious and scientific debate. He was also an accomplished lyricist, … Read more

Flowers for Algernon Quotations and Analysis

Quotations and Analysis “Prof Nemur said but why did you want to lern to reed and spell in the frist place. I tolld him because all my life I wantid to be smart and not dumb and my mom always tolld me to try and lern just like Miss Kinnian tells me but its very … Read more

As I Lay Dying Summary

Addie Bundren, the wife and matriarch of an impoverished southern family, has fallen deathly ill. Her family believes that she is soon to pass. Her eldest son, Cash, begins to use his impressive carpentry skill to build a coffin for his mother right outside her bedroom window. Despite their mothers declining health, Darl and Jewel … Read more

Key Facts About Heart of Darkness

Complete title: Heart of Darkness Written By: Joseph Conrad Genre: Symbolism, adventure tale, colonial literature Time and Place of writing: England in 1899 Date of first publication: Blackwood’s Magazine, 1899. Later published in the volume Youth: A Narrative; and Two Other Stories in 1902 Major Conflict: Marlow and Kurtz face conflict between their views of themselves as civilized men and the … Read more

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Written by Kate Chopin, The Awakening was the second and final novel to be published by the feminist, controversial writer. Published in 1899 during the first wave of feminism, the novel was extremely ahead of its time in its criticism of the patriarchal society and prevailing gender roles in the late 19th and early 20th century. The novel is … Read more

The Stranger Summary

The narrator and protagonist of Camus’s novel is named Meursault, a young man living in Algiers. The novel opens as he receives news that his mother has died. He goes to Marengo to the old persons’ home where his mother lived. After sleeping through nearly the entire bus ride, Meursault speaks to the director of … Read more

Key Facts about The Sun Also Rises

The novel is based on Hemingway’s trip to Spain in 1925 in which he experienced European café life and the running of the bulls in Pamplona. He wrote the novel in about two months, spending just a few months on revisions. It was published in 1926. The novel is an example of the Roman a clef, … Read more

Alice in Wonderland Quotations and Analysis

Quotations and Analysis “Who in the world am I?” Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” In Chapter 2, Alice asks herself this question after she has grown to an enormous size. In this quotation we see how Alice is attempting to not only understand Wonderland, but also herself. As she is plunged into a world in … Read more

Key Facts about Le Morte d’Arthur

The origins and authorship of Le Morte d’Arthur are murky. There were numerous people who went by the name of Thomas Mallory around the time of the publication of the book. Scholars generally agree the author was one “Knyght presoner Thomas Malleorre” (“Sir Thomas Maleore” according to Caxton), born in 1416, who was the actual author of … Read more

To Kill a Mockingbird Summary

The story is set in the times of the Great Depression, during 1933-1935, in the fictional little town of Maycomb, Alabama. The protagonist of the story is a girl aged six, Jean Louise Finch (also called Scout), living with her family, who are Scout’s elder brother Jeremy (Jem) and their father, Atticus, a widowed lawyer. … Read more

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman seemed to take its place in the canon of great American literature almost as soon as it deputed on Broadway in 1949. The play hits upon themes which have proved to resonate the world over but also has particular meaning for American audiences. Miller’s play ostensibly presents an idea American family, … Read more

Key Facts about The Pearl

Key Facts John Steinbeck wrote and published The Pearl in 1947 as his 11th novel. The novel was adapted from a folk tale that the author had heard while on a trip to Mexico in 1940. The author did not intend to create a novel and was actually meaning to write a film script instead. With the direction … Read more

Beloved Summary

The novel begins in Cincinnati in 1873 as Sethe, a former slave, is living with her 18 year old daughter, Denver. Sethe’s mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, lived with her until her death 8 years prior to the opening of the novel and we learn that his Sethe’s two sons, Howard and Buglar ran away just prior to … Read more

Key Facts About The Things They Carried

Full Title: The Things They Carried Written by: Tim O’Brien Type of Literary Work: A collection of short stories Genre: War stories, memory stories Date of first publication: 1990 Narrator: Tim O’Brien Tone: The Things They Carried is an meditative depiction of the methods and reasons for storytelling. The narrator is often unreliable, speaking of the necessity of crossing the lines between … Read more

Symbols, Important Quotes and Key Facts Lolita

Symbols The Theatre: The theatre is symbolic of artistry and artifice. Humbert blames Lolita’s newly learned ability to lie on her participation in a school play. Quilty uses that same school play to convince Lolita to come with him. Lolita is drawn to the theatre because of Quilty. This is particularly upsetting for Humbert, as he … Read more

Lolita Themes of the Book

The Power of Language: Nabokov had a strong love for language, it was his belief that proper language could enhance anything the same level as fine art. In his novel, Lolita, the use of language overpowers the shocking subject matter and perhaps even gives it a beautiful quality that it is not deserving of. Lolita is … Read more

Lolita Characters Analysis

Humbert Humbert: Humbert is the main character and narrator of Lolita. Humbert is European, smart, and has an obsession for children whom he refers to as nymphets. He has a long history of mental illness. Somehow Humbert manages to seduce the audience with the way he speaks, he is, however, capable of rape and murder. Despite his … Read more


Summary of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov The foreword of the novel Lolita, written by Russian-American literary great, Vladimir Nabokov, follows a fictional character, John Ray, Jr., Ph.D, as he prefaces the peculiar tale that is set to come. According to Ray, he came to have in his possession a manuscript, entitled the Confession of a White Widowed … Read more