Contemporary Novels

Course Description

For this course, students will read a set of novels and novellas that were written during the 20th Century and reflect themes common to contemporary literature, such as the ability of the human spirit to rise above seemingly-impossible circumstances. Through creative projects and writing assignments, students will identify and analyze each novel’s themes and also compare and contrast the novels’ treatment of common themes.  Please note that, like most contemporary literature, the novels assigned for this course contain realistic situations and language. In addition to the novels listed, each student will read another contemporary novel of his or her choosing that the instructor must approve. MLA (Modern Language Association) documentation is required on all papers submitted.

Course Requirements

Grade Level

9 – 12



  • Picture Bride
    By Yoshiko Uchida
  • Night
    By Elie Weisel
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
    By Harper Lee
  • Fallen Angels
    By Walter Dean Myers
  • The Old Man and The Sea
    By Ernest Hemingway
  • Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption
    By Stephen King


1 Semesters

Credit Value



Language Arts 9

Course Outline

  1. An Introduction to the Contemporary Novel
  2. Picture Bride, by Yoshiko Uchida
  3. Night, by Elie Weisel
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  5. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
  6. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
  7. Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, by Stephen King
  8. The Novel of Your Choice