Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 340
In The American (1877), Henry James presents a clash between an aristocratic old French family and a wealthy, self-made American. This novel is the first of his studies of the contrast between the simple, innocent American and the sophisticated, corrupt European.
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In Franz Kafka's unfinished novel Amerika (1927, translated 1938), he deals with the adventures and ordeals of a young European in an unreal, expressionistically depicted America.
Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of Pointed Firs (1896) is a book of tales and sketches thinly bound together by a faint thread of plot which portrays a Maine seaport town from the point of view of a summer resident.
Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie (1924-25 in Norwegian; 1927 in English) is a stark and realistic work by the Norwegian-American novelist Ole E. Rolvaag describing the hardships, both mental and physical, of a small group of Norwegian farmers who set out from Minnesota with their families in 1873 to settle in the then-unopened Dakota Territory. It is the first in a trilogy that also contains Peder Victorious and Their Father's God.
Sinclair Lewis' Main Street (1920) is both a satire and an affectionate portrait of Gopher Prairie, a typical American town, which was undoubtedly suggested by Sauk Centre, Minnesota, where Lewis was born.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1850), Hester Prynne evolves through the shame of her punishment, to wear an embroidered scarlet letter A on her breast as a symbol of her adultery.
O Pioneers! (1913) is Willa Cather's second novel and the first to be set in Nebraska. Alexandra Bergson, deeply devoted to the land, takes over the care of her family on the death of her father and establishes a prosperous farm.
Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927) is one of Cather's Southwest novels and describes the missionary efforts of the French bishop Jean Latour and his vicar to establish a diocese in the territory of New Mexico.
The angriest piece of fiction that Willa Cather ever wrote is My Morial Enemy (1926). Myra Henshawe feels cheated by life and dies of cancer, alone and embittered.