As an honors and AP student in high school, I have been exposed to classics and have come to appreciate them. Classics often give you a different societal view and challenge you to think about life or the world around you. This promotes critical thinking, but also opens you up to some astonishing realizations, such as the fact that we still face problems such as discrimination or restrictive societal standards today. Not only that, but once you get used to the style, many classics are quite enjoyable!
One of the first classics I grew to love was THE HOBBIT by J. R. R. Tolkien. How can you not love tales of adventurous hobbits, bumbling dwarfs and eccentric wizards? I soon added more classics to my book shelf: FAHRENHEIT 451, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, THE FOUNTAINHEAD and various Shakespeare plays. One favorite is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD for its writing and sincerity. I can relate to the transition of Scout from child to adult, maturing while still remaining true to herself and her beliefs. In fact, of all the amazing, touching books I have read this one is something special. I also adore PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, which has a remarkable amount of wit and an entertaining romance.
Contrary to popular belief, not all classics are “stuffy” or “dull." Currently, I am reading CATCH-22, which is a book about a fictional World War II bombardier who really wants nothing to do with the war at all. This book has been hailed as a masterpiece of dark humor and I often find myself to be the object of curious stares when I laugh out loud over reading some hilarious or just plain ridiculous line.
Here's an example:
"They're trying to kill me," Yossarian told him calmly.
"No one's trying to kill you," Clevinger cried.
"Then why are they shooting at me?" Yossarian asked.
"They're shooting at everyone," Clevinger answered. "They're trying to kill everyone."
"And what difference does that make?"
I am not going to lie and say I like all classics. There are some exceptions. For instance, I can’t stand the blatant sexism of THE GREAT GATSBY and FAREWELL TO ARMS or the immaturity of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE. I also dislike “Romeo and Juliet”, despite the fact that I usually love Shakespeare’s quirky style and colorful characters. Perhaps it is the whole meet, get married two days later and then die aspect.
Either way, I always give a classic a fair try. If you keep an open mind, reading classics can be a fun challenge. Plus, there are a few classics that leave a lasting impression. Personally, I suggest picking one off the shelf the next time you have the chance.
Which classics do you love? Which ones do you hate? And which ones surprised you most of all?