Using the ‘Hometown’ Novel in Composition 101 

Among the toughest challenges in using a novel as a resource in a composition 
course is choosing a text that appeals to the students. I use “hometown” novels; 
that is, novels set in or around the area where my students are from. Students 
immediately find common ground between themselves and the characters, find the 
plots recognizable, and find the themes relevant to their lives. This essay 
describes several practical exercises to offer while reading the hometown novel 
and discusses the rewards such an assignment brings.