Free Audio Books: Classic American Literature

If you're interested in listening to some of America's best literature for free, then you're in luck. We've discussed a few options, here, of some of the available options for free audio books in this genre. Schools offering English Language & Literature degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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Seven American Literary Works Available for Free as Audio Books

The 19th and early 20th centuries are filled with great American novels. These books helped shape American culture through compelling stories filled with rich characters. Many of these classic novels are now available as free audio books, enabling you to hear them at your convenience.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Awakening is a groundbreaking 1899 novella that treats feminism and women's issues with respect and significance. The plot focuses on Louisiana-based Edna Pontellier, who is one of American literature's first powerful and complex female protagonists. Feeling trapped by her marriage and parental responsibilities, Edna begins to explore her emotions and beliefs. She starts to question the societal conventions that cause her ennui and transforms in mind and spirit.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane's 1895 novel centers on Henry Fleming, a Union soldier in the Civil War. Early in the story, Fleming is overcome with fear. He deserts his battalion when he thinks a battle is going poorly and fakes a wound in order to stay away from battle. Ultimately, Fleming returns to his battalion and overcomes his shame and fear.

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Herman Melville's epic 1851 novel details the whaling voyage of the Pequod, a Nantucket-based vessel led by Captain Ahab. The story is narrated by Ishmael, an inexperienced young man seeking adventure as a whaler. After setting out to sea, it becomes clear that Ahab cares little for the business of hunting sperm whales for their oil, the stated mission of the Pequod. Instead, Ahab is seeking vengeance upon the powerful Moby Dick, a notorious whale who has killed many sailors.

Moby Dick Sperm Whale

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

This epic novel centers on Carrie Meeber, a poor young woman who ventures to Chicago. After failing at making an honorable living, she succumbs to the temptation of Charles Drouet, a successful salesman. Carrie's ambition leads her to work as an actress and have an affair with George Hurstwood. After several scandalous episodes, Carrie leaves Chicago with Hurstwood. They embark upon a modest life that slowly crumbles as Hurstwood's ambition fails him and he can no longer support Carrie.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Widely considered one of the greatest American novels, The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 masterpiece. The narrator of the story is Nick Carraway, a young man who heads to Long Island to make his living. Once there, he befriends Jay Gatsby, a wealthy but elusive neighbor. Nick also has a tenuous friendship with Tom and Daisy, an unhappily married couple living nearby. The main plot concerns the tangled relationships between the characters, set against the backdrop of the Roaring Twenties.

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin was a pivotal anti-slavery novel published in 1852 and the second most popular book of the 19th century, after the Bible. The story involves several key characters, including Uncle Tom, a slave who is largely loyal to his various owners. Another slave, Eliza, flees her owner and undergoes a harrowing journey to freedom. Despite its abolitionist motivations, this novel is responsible for spreading a variety of racist stereotypes, making it both controversial and significant to understanding racism in the United States.

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

Cooper's 1826 novel is set in upstate New York in 1757 during the French and Indian War. The story features several pivotal characters, including members of both the Mohican and Huron tribes. These include the nefarious Magua and Uncas, the titular last of the Mohicans. Other key characters include the Munro sisters, Cora and Alice, and their father, a British colonel actively involved in the war.

Fiction isn't the only genre available as free audio books. You can also find classic non-fiction literature.

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