Beyond Literary Landscapes—Sacrifice

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


This week’s column focuses on the popular, but lesser discussed, theme of sacrifice in literature.

Many of the works mentioned below focus on sacrifice, and particularly self-sacrifice, for a variety of reasons, including for the greater good and for one’s friends, family, and loved ones.

Authors notable for writing about themes of sacrifice include Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, and Cormac McCarthy.

Additional authors include Suzanne Collins, Stephen King, and Ernest Hemingway.


Novels focusing on the sacrifice and self-sacrifice of various protagonists include A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Additional novels include The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Stand by Stephen King, and For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.


These novels are set in England, France, the United States, Spain, and the fictional Panem.


These works are set in the 20 and 21-centuries.


The theme of sacrifice may be of interest to students across various AU faculties and disciplines.  For example, these works may interest ENGL students as a thought-provoking literary theme, as well as SOCI, POLI SCI, HIST, and PSYC students who are trying to understand human nature, across various socio-political and historical eras.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to the theme of sacrifice are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may enroll in SOCI 287: Introduction to Sociology I, a junior-level, three credit course, which “introduces students to the critical study of society .  .  .  [with topics, such as] socialization, culture, race and ethnicity, gender, and the family.”  (No prerequisites are currently required).

In addition, student may be interested in SOCI 290: Social Problems, another junior-level three-credit course, which “is designed to introduce students to the study of social problems: their definition, their dimensions and interconnections, and the effects and strategies for alleviating them.”  (Once again, no prerequisites are required for this course).  Happy reading!