Does your son intend to go to a Catholic college or a secular atheistic public state school??
I don’t know what he is going to study but if he isn’t going to become an English teacher, and if he is going to a state college, he’ll probably just have to take a writing class and maybe one literature course.
Most of this modern literature certainly isn’t Catholic, so if he isn’t going to a state or private secular university, I’d junk most of it. Probably the less of this stuff you have to read, the better person you’ll be, unless you want to become a modernist secular thinker.
Here’s the standard classics; even Chaucer and the touted Shakespeare (in The Merchant’s Tale, Banquo and Mercutio (?) could be interpreted as being homosexuals, but there is no overt homosexuality portrayed) have their bawdy moments (especially Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale and a few others), but they are the foundations of English Literature:
Chaucer: Canterbury Tales
Dante: Divine Comedy (especially if he’s going to a Catholic college)
Milton: Paradise Lost
Utopia (especially if he’s going to a Catholic college)
Shakespeare: Tragedies; Comedies; Histories: Julius Caesar, Henry IV Part I, can’t go wrong reading Shakespeare, despite a few minor problems; it’s the greatest drama of the English language).
Great Gatsby: For whatever reason, this is considered the Great American novel, maybe tied with Melville’s Moby ****. (I guess the point of this book, although it doesn’t spell it out in black in white words, is that all the money in the world can’t buy you happiness; he seems to romanticize wealth but in the end he seems to be saying it can’t get you everything; the author who was an ex-Catholic basically died of his alcoholism).
The above is really all that anyone needs, unless their specializing in this area.
I’d forget Hawthorne, Twain, Thoreau, Hardy; They are not Catholics and were all hostile towards religion; the only one I might read is Huckleberry Finn only if he’s going to a state school and I doubt he’ll read it even then.
My understanding is that Huck at the very end says he isn’t a Christian because of slavery. Plus, Huck is a rebellious youth, and doesn’t like authority.
I don’t see any necessity to read any of those authors, and they shouldn’t be read without a Christian critique of their ideas.
I’m not saying you can’t read them; but unless you’re closely supervising your son’s reading and providing a Christian analysis of the ideas presented, I’d pass them.