Monday, February 24, 2014

My Journey with Classics

Over the years, I'm sure many of us have had teachers bash into our heads the importance of classics, and how they are the truest, most pure form of literature. They are constantly urging us to read us many classics as we can-and this holds true for students in middle school, high school, and especially college. But I'm not writing this post to outline the benefits reaped by reading the classics; I am merely documenting my journey (I know, I’m only in high school) with these emphasized books.

Obviously, most of the books I read are of the young adult genre, with varying degrees of literary value (translation: some books are really good and some just suck).
Because of this, I'm not exposed to other types of books, aside from the required reading book in school. More specifically, I don't read that many classics as I would ideally like to.

Up until this year, I generally did not read classics (willingly, that is). I looked at them as boring, unnecessarily thick books with no entertainment value whatsoever. 

Harry Potter gif FTW!
And that can be the case, I admit. But once I started reading Jane Eyre and realized what I was missing out on, I began buying collections of classics; from Jane Austen to Charles Dickens to even The Arabian Nights. I came to the conclusion that what makes these novels so endearing is not their action-packed scenes or thriller-filled plot; it’s their insight on life and unique prose that sets them apart.

I know, I'm just a sophomore in highschool, so naturally I haven't read a significant amount of classics. And my newfound appreciation of these novels will probably not make the tedious work of required school reading any more enjoyable. But I’m hoping that over the years, I will have read dozens of classics and will cherish them (maybe not all, though).

Lately, I've been writing a lot. I’m trying to improve my writing skills, so maybe one day, I will become at least slightly talented in the art of writing. By reading more classics, I know I’m taking the first step in enhancing my writing.

So, Classics: YAY or NAY?       


  1. I honestly think it depends on the classic. I never really read the school-assinged classics, and passed all my classes by skimming (except Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare). But lately, friends and my own thoughts have been pushing me to read classics. I tried reading Wuthering Heights but I couldn't get into it. I couldn't understand why this character was the narrator, becuase she had nothing to do with story. I also attempted read 1984, but nothing was really happening, so I gave up about a fourth of the way though, but now, around siz months later, I really wnat to go back and finish it because the cocept of Oldspeak/Newspeak really fascinated me. I also recently read Fahrenhiet 451 and I adored it--the premise was compelling and the writing was postively gorgeous in places.

    By the way, where did you head that there's an emphasis on Classics in College? Becuase I am in college, and I'm an english major, and I've had to read far more essays written in the last twenty years than classic novels.

    1. That's true. And it also depends on personal taste like you said, so some people just can't enjoy some classics because o is just not for them. I didn't like Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse at all, and I skimmed most of that. Fahrenheit 451 was brilliant, though.

      I've heard about how many classics you read in college not really from English majors but from people in college in general. I guess it depends on the course and teacher.

  2. There are some classics I've read that I've enjoyed, but I've only read one classic that on my own and not for school. I do own a few classics that I plan on reading for my own pleasure. I'm reading To Kill a Mockingbird for school at the moment and I understand the importance of it, but at the same time I haven't been impressed by what the book has to offer.