The Best English Majors Must-Read List

Reading piles of books is essential for those students who major in English since it allows them to enhance their professional skills, such as critical thinking, literature analysis, writing skills, etc. Here you can see the list of the books most English majors are required to read.


A work of an unknown author, Beowulf is an epic poem written approximately in the 10th century and set in the sixth-century Scandinavia. The central character of the poem is a hero who saves King Hrothgar's kingdom from two terrifying monsters, Grendel and his mother, and gets rewarded for his deeds by the King. The second part of the poem describes Beowulf’s reign 50 years later. The old King defeats a dragon and saves his kingdom.

The Awakening

The Awakening was written by Kate Chopin published in 1899. The book tells a story of Edna Pontellier, who is a wife of a rich man and who lives nineteenth century New Orleans. When she meets a man during her vacation and falls in love with him, she decides to rebel against the restrains of her society. She leaves her husband and children to live a bohemian life with her new bellowed man. However, she has to face consequents of her bold decision.

Nowadays, the book is regarded as a great example of feminist literature by many literary critics.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huck Finn appears for the first time in another Twain’s book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, as a secondary character. He becomes the main hero in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The story focuses on Huck and Jim, who is a slave. When the owners consider selling Jim and separating him from the family, Huck does his best assist his friend in running away. The daring duo goes on journey to Ohio and faces dangerous but exciting adventures on their way.

Mark Twain's creation is a satire of the Plantation era with its racism and social inequality. The story spurred heated discussions among the writer’s contemporaries, because it was considered highly controversial. However, nowadays, it is an acknowledged masterwork of literature.

Pride and Prejudice

A true gem of English literature, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen depicts the Bennets family, whose biggest concern is the marriage of their five daughters. The plot develops around Elizabeth Bennet and her tangled love-hate relationship with Fitzwilliam Darcy.

In her work, Austen discusses obsolete public attitudes, family ties, and falsehood.

The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote this masterpiece in 1850. The main hero of this novel is Hester Prynne's, who is punished for infidelity. Because she keeps a lid on the name of her child’s father, she is made to have a scarlet letter on her chest and is publicly humiliated. The novel brings up such burning questions as good and evil, sin and freedom of choice.