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Her mother dreamed of becoming an actress and transferred those ambitions to Natalie. She would take her daughter to every movie she could, and watching Hollywood child stars on the screen was Natalie's only professional training. Later Natalie would tell about that period in her life: "My mother used to tell me that the cameraman who pointed his lens out at the audience at the end of the Paramount newsreel was taking my picture.

I'd pose and smile like he was going to make me famous or something. I believed everything my mother told me The family moved to Santa Rosa, California, where Wood, who was only 7 years old, was noticed during a film shoot in the downtown area and offered the role of a German orphan opposite Orson Welles and Claudette Colbert in Tomorrow Is Forever Film executives changed her last name to Wood at that time. She became one of the top child stars in Hollywood, and Macy's invited her to appear in the store's annual Thanksgiving Day parade.

American Classic Screen Features by John C. Tibbetts

According to local laws, she was obligated to spend at least three hours daily in classes, so the whole film crew would sit around on the set waiting for Natalie to finish her studies and arrive to start filming. Interestingly, in The Searchers she played together with her younger sister Svetlana Zacharenko stage name Lana Wood , who would go on to become an actress in her own right, many years later playing a Bond girl. In late 60s, after a string of difficult roles, Wood suffered emotionally, sought professional therapy, and later went on a three-year hiatus. Though an introvert and recluse, Dickinson had a profound understanding of the human condition, and was able to write with a knowledge that one would not expect from a woman who later in life refused to leave her room.

Today, she is known as one of the greatest poets in history with a corpus of nearly 1, poems.

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In this Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award for Fiction-winner, Walker paints the horrifying yet realistic account of a young black woman named Celie who faces disturbing abuse — both physical, mental, and incestuous — at the hands of the men in her life. From the same Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who wrote "Death of a Salesman," " The Crucible " is another of Arthur Miller's plays about the Salem witch trials of the 17th century. It hit the stage in , and was thought to be an attack on Senator Joseph McCarthy for his anti-Communist fervor and "witch hunts" of Communists in s America.

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And though not entirely accurate, the play remains a timeless story of how intolerance and hysteria can tear a community apart. Guy Montag is a fireman whose job is to burn printed books as well as the houses where they're hidden. But when his wife commits suicide and a young neighbor who introduced him to reading disappears, Guy begins hoarding books in his own home.

‘Native Son’ Official Trailer: Update of American Classic Comes to HBO Next Month

From the "Tell-Tale Heart" to the Sherlock Holmes-esque "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," Poe is a master at building to a story's climax with palpable emotions — terror, love, sadness — that feel undeniably real to readers. The story follows a family of poor tenant farmers as they're driven away from their Oklahoma home, and journey through the Dust Bowl toward California.

But all of their hopes for redemption are slowly wiped out as they battle hunger, lack of employment, and death. Edith Wharton's " The House of Mirth " tells the story of class hierarchies in America through Lily Bart, a woman who sabotages all her possible opportunities for a wealthy marriage in the hopes of marrying for love, but refuses to marry for love because she is unable to give up her love of money. Through a series of rumors and gossip, Lily slowly loses the esteem of her social circle, until she dies poor and alone.


It was a stark illustration of the Gilded Age Wharton knew so well, and it remains profoundly tragic. New York's 19th century industrial workers lived in squalid, cramped tenement buildings. So journalist Jacob A. Riis made it his mission to show the American upper- and middle-class the dangerous conditions the poor faced every day with graphic descriptions, sketches, statistics, and his photographs. Not only did " How the Other Half Lives " inspire tangible change to the Lower East Side's schools, sweatshops and buildings, but it was also the basis for future "muckraking" journalism.

The memoir follows Angelou during her youth as she survives soul-crushing racism, a brutal sexual assault, and finally her hard-won independence as she becomes a young woman. Her poetic prose continues to influence and inspire generations today. This slave narrative was an in-depth chronological account of Jacobs's own life as a slave, documenting in particular the horrific sexual abuse that female slaves faced: rape, pressure to have sex at an early age, being forced to sell their children, and the relationship between female slaves and their mistresses.

Though " Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl " went relatively unnoticed at the time of its publication due to the outbreak of the Civil War, it reemerged in the s and '80s as an important historical account on the sexualization and rape of female slaves. Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, " Invisible Man " is a masterpiece that explores what it means to be black in America, as it grapples with race relations and misguided activist groups in the United States. The book follows the nameless narrator as he tries to escape racist stereotypes from both the white and black people whom he meets in an effort to find his true identity and make others see him how he sees himself.

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The book galvanized public opinion and led to a forced government investigation that eventually caused the passage of pure food laws. Today, it's often referenced in response to poor working conditions and food safety laws. There are many versions of the book, from a small compilation of twelve poems to the final gigantic collection of poems.

But all collections showcase Whitman's staple free-verse poetry, which explores themes such as what it means to be an American, while still remaining accessible to modern readers. Stephen Crane published " Maggie: A Girl of the Streets " at his own expense, and at the time it was considered a major failure for the well-known novelist.

Today, it's said to be one of the first examples of American realistic novels.