Which Book Read in American Studies is the Best?
Over the course of Junior year, students read around eight books that vary greatly in theme, writing style, and time period. Given this, it is a heavily debated topic regarding which book is the favorite. Some of the books we read this year are The Scarlet Letter, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Great Gatsby.
I spoke with a few Bainbridge High School students to gather opinions on which book they liked the best. Cooper Hanson, a BHS Junior, votes “Great Gatsby, easy”. His reasons for this were that it’s “the most interestingly written book we’ve read. It has characters that are hard to read at first, and has a lot of symbolism which I like. I like how its focused on lives on luxury, and the setting stays pretty constant which I can appreciate. Some of it kind of reminds me of the movie Wolf of Wall Street, probably because it has Leonardo Dicaprio, who I like.”
Another BHS student I spoke with, Sarah Paxson, says she, “Agrees strongly with Cooper.” She believes the Great Gatsby was by far a class favorite. Her primary reason for loving the book so much was due to the main character: Nick Carraway. She says he, “Provided a very unique perspective on other characters in the book. Because he wasn’t the most exciting character and didn’t experience most of the action, he was mainly just used as a bystander to gain insight on other more extravagant characters, such as Gatsby or Daisy, and I thought that was pretty cool.” Paxson made sure to also comment on her love for the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. She said, “Although not by number one favorite, it was a close second. By the end of the book I had a great appreciation for Twain’s writing style as well as his method of critiquing acts of slavery throughout the book.”
I also talked to Bella Jackson, another fellow Junior. Despite Cooper’s strong opinion for Great Gatsby, Jackson argues for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. She says, “I like this book the most because of the symbolism the character Huck provides. He shows how children, although portrayed innocently, can represent many important themes, like adventure, friendship, and internal morals.”
From my sample size, it appears that Huckleberry Finn is a favorite although it always comes down to the fact that people are very different and like different things. However, I will say that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the books in American History thus far and that our teachers do an amazing job of teaching them.