Choose the Best Essay Topic for American Literature Class

What is a comparative literature essay? In this type of essay, a student can choose several authors and their compositions and show the differences between the literary methods they use, plots, and characters.

comparative literature essay topics

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Students often misunderstand the simplest details when they are writing comparative essays. One thing that leads students down the wrong path is choosing bad comparative literature essay topics. To avoid getting stuck, we recommend reading this list of the 30 best comparative essay topics for an American literature class, which BuyEssay has composed for you.

Comparative Literature Essay Topics on the Formation of American Literature

  1. What are the major concepts in American literature? Compare the culture of the diasporas to the American literary tradition.
  2. In ‘The Age of Innocence,’ Edith Wharton demonstrates the changing morals and assumptions about New York society in the late 19th century. What themes does she use to explore this pathetic shift in New York history?
  3. Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner: thematic elements, style of writing, their backgrounds, and further influences on American literature.
  4. A critical analysis of the early stories of Native American literature and their difference from creation myths from different parts of the world. Has Native American literature had a significant influence in modern literature as that derived from the early Puritan colonies?
  5. The role of values in the early period of American literature. What values did society have, and how did this help in forming future generations? Were later periods in literature reactionary to some of the earliest values?
  6. The notion of time in Native American narratives.
  7. Symbolism and metaphysics in Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel ‘Ceremony.’
  8. The connection between tribal literature and current societal concerns of Native Americans.
  9. The moral lessons in traditional Native American trickster tales.
  10. Mythic realism of traditional Native American folktales and myths.
  11. An analysis of N. Scott Momaday’s ‘The Man Made of Words.’ What does the Man mean, and what does he say?
  12.  The role of women in contemporary American literature compared to the earlier periods.
  13. A comparison of the traditional myths of the Zuni tribes and Wintu.
  14. Conflicting responsibilities in ‘The Glass Menagerie,’ ‘Oedipus Rex,’ and ‘Death of a Salesman’ by Tennessee Williams.
  15. How the setting and symbolism contribute to the reader’s understanding of John Steinbeck’s short story ‘The Chrysanthemums’ and Susan Glaspell’s play ‘Trifles.’
  16. Difference between psychological journeys of King Oedipus and Willy Loman in ‘Oedipus Rex’ by Sophocles and ‘Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller.
  17. How specific poetic devices serve to characterize the relationship between a daughter and her father in Nikki Giovanni’s ‘Nikki Rosa,’ Mary Oliver’s ‘Poem for My Father’s Ghost,’ and Doretta Cornell’s ‘Steady As Any Ship, My Father.’
  18. Cultural influences on American literature in the period of the Civil War. A comparison of compositions of American literature before and after the Civil War.
  19. How did Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, and Langston Hughes explore the lives of ordinary people through poetic forms?
  20. Compare Henry David Thoreau’s ‘Civil Disobedience’ and Martin Luther King’s ‘A Letter From Birmingham Jail.’ The differences and similarities in their approaches in describing authorities against activism.
  21. Compare the major themes that aroused people’s sympathy through works such as ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ by Harriet Beecher Stowe and ‘My Bondage and My Freedom’ by Frederick Douglas.
  22. The role, differences, and similarity of typical elements of Native American creation myths.
  23. Identity and transition in ‘The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta: The Celebrated California Bandit’ by John Rollin Ridge.
  24. ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ and ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ by Edgar Allan Poe have similar effects of suspense and horror. Compare and contrast the literary methods with diction, setting, and point of view.
  25. Details of characters, symbolism, settings, and language in the stories ‘Everyday Use’ by Alice Walker and ‘A Worn Path’ by Eudora Welty.
  26. Discuss different observations of human weakness in ‘The Lottery’ and ‘The Summer People’ by Shirley Jackson.
  27. Specific figurative devices in two well-known poems written in the carpe diem tradition: ‘To the Virgins’ by Robert Herrick and ‘To His Coy Mistress’ by Andrew Marvell.
  28. Compare the writing style of notable authors of the Native American Renaissance Era such as Wendy Rose, Simon Ortiz, Ray Young Bear, Joy Harjo, and Roberta Hill.
  29. The primary idea of D’Arcy McNickle’s novel ‘The Surrounded’ compared to his ‘Wind From an Enemy Sky.’
  30. Native American literature and its different approaches in breaking down the centuries-long silencing of Native American voices.

Typically, in comparative essays, students contrast the main accomplishments of chosen authors and the reason for their significance in American literature. By using one of these comparative literature essay topics from BuyEssay, a student can contrast how authors use symbolism to reveal a character’s actions or essential plot points, for example. This helps to find unique aspects of every literature composition and its impact on modern literature.

At BuyEssay, you can also find a lot of samples to improve your knowledge on literature. Students’ work on comparative American literature is useful to learn different literary compositions from an analytical and critical perspective. Start reaching your academic achievements today!

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