Sometimes you just don’t want to read a required book for a class. Sometimes even the Cliffsnotes are too long. Sometimes literature just isn’t worth the effort it takes to experience it. In that spirit, here is a list of one-sentence summaries of some of the canon’s most vaulted books.
Oh yeah, spoiler alert. Some of these sentences will give away the book. You’ve been warned.
Lord of the Flies: Little naked boys kill each other.
The Good Earth: A man is poor, then rich, then poor, then rich, then poor, then rich, then dead.
As I Lay Dying: Poor white trash have a funeral and go crazy.
The Road: The world has ended, so a boy and his father take a walk.
My Antonia: Jim is obsessed with Antonia, but doesn’t have the balls to ask her out, so he settles for a lifetime of stalking her across the prairie.
A Room of One’s Own: Chicks need money in order to write.
Hamlet: Whiney people aren’t good at vengeance.
Heart of Darkness: Lord of the Flies for grown-ups.
The Scarlet Letter: Humble embroidery doesn’t save Hester from her sin of adultery, especially as she was doing the priest.
Dandelion Wine: A boy’s childhood wrapped in nostalgia and dipped in a dream.
Pride and Prejudice: People argue, but marriage solves all problems.
The Grapes of Wrath: A family goes from broke in Oklahoma to SOL in California.
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