Often, you will find that the AP Lit. and Comp. exam open ended questions will ask you to write about characters in novels who have been alienated from society. The "outcast" or "exiled" character is a common motif in literature because it often provides for a good old story of redemption and naturally lends itself to interesting conflicts and situations. Hundreds and hundreds of books have been written in American and World literature depicting characters who are the "misfits." Ironically, it is usually these characters who are the pioneers and free thinkers. These are the characters that are ahead of their time and try to burst through the restraints of social norms to do what they feel they must.
Perhaps the most notable outcast in literature is Huckleberry Finn because he supports the freeing of his friend Jim, which goes against all social norms. However, this is only one reason that Huck Finn is an outcast. He not only rejects the social norms of slavery, but also of religion, the heartless capitalistic schemes of the Duke and the King, and the "manners" and "sivilization" that the Widow Douglass tries to instill in him. But Huck isn't alone. He is Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. He is Bernard Marx in Brave New World. He is Hassan in The Kite Runner. He is the rebellious side in all of us, and he is brave enough to live it!
For this project you will choose one of the following novels to read over the next five weeks. You will have a weekly “small” assignment with your novel and final presentation to give after reading your novel. You should also keep a dialectical journal of at least three pages per week (total of 12 pages). I caution you NOT to choose a book based on length alone. You might be more successful in choosing a book that deals with a topic of interest for you.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad,
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (can’t have read for banned book)
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (see me before choosing this book).
When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
Grendel by John Gardner
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Fade by Robert Cormier
OR if you have never read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn... see me. You might want to read it because it can be used for so many different types of questions on the AP Exam.