Each of the 20 essays in these volumes focuses on a single work of American literature. Written in clear, jargon-free style by college and university professors, each explores the nuances of the work--themes, characterization, use of language--enabling the student to comprehend, interpret and write about the classics. Volume 1 includes essays on Toni Morrison's "Beloved," J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye," Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," Stephen Cranes "The Red Badge of Courage," John Updike's "Rabbit, Run" and others. Volume 2 covers Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy," Sarah Orne Jewett's "The Country of the Pointed Firs," Saul Bellows "Herzog," Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man," Harper Lees "To Kill a Mockingbird" and others. Volumes also feature timelines, author chronologies, bibliographies with further reading suggestions and more.