It’s a Classic

This post by Jennifer Flaten

How do you feel about “Classic Literature”? Is is something that you seek out or is it something that you vaguely remember reading for your school work and after slogging through ‘Moby Dick’ it is something you’ve vowed never to read again?

Personally, I had to read a lot of “classic literature” for my english classes, yet I still feel that I missed out on some, or might have appreciated them more if I wasn’t forced to read them.

Maybe it isn’t even the reading part, it was the dissecting them in English class. Nothing will turn you off a book then listening to a bunch of 12th graders parse what the author meant….or maybe that is just me.

Really, I liked ‘Lord of the Flies’ and a lot of the Shakespeare when I read them on my own, but listening to my classmates dissect what the whale symbolized made me want to bead them about the head with a harpoon.

The girls have an end of the year english project that includes reading one “classic” and one contemporary book and doing a compare and contrast.

One kid found it easy to pick out her two books. She selected an Agatha Christie and a George Orwell, although she hated ‘Animal Farm’ with an undying passion so I am not sure how she is going to react to ‘1984’.

My other daughter is struggling to find something she will enjoy, and she is the type of reader who must enjoy what she is reading or she won’t do it.

She is interested Jane Austen but felt a couple of the books were a little long. Hey it is staller de ilustracion digital - 428chool work after all she wants to get it done with as little energy expended as possible. I encouraged her to try Emma because it seemed the most lighthearted of the lot.

So far she hasn’t cracked ‘Emma’ open but she did take one of my SciFi (lite) books ‘Carter and Lovecraft’ and I am very interested to see how she contrasts that to ‘Emma’!

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10 Responses to It’s a Classic

  1. I’m not a classical literature kind of gal, and I likely missed out on a lot. Tried Shakespear a few times — couldn’t get into his writing at all. Guess I’m weird! Good luck to your kids sloshing through their assignments!

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  2. Well, the reason your daughter didn’t like Animal Farm would effect whether she likes 1984. Did she not like the idea of annimals taking control of a farm? If so, there’s none of that in 1984 so she may like it. I did when I was her age. I also liked Animal Farm.

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  3. Even though I loved to read, for some reason, I just fought the assigned reading in English Lit classes. The few I did like were The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath. I absolutely hated The Scarlet Letter. I have to admit I didn’t like Shakespeare either, so Gayle, it’s not just you!

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  4. Doris says:

    Ah yes, the memories. Whishing both girls luck. Doris

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  5. Ok, so I’m one of the weird ones of the bunch. I loved then and I love now to read classics. My Kindle is full of them and I slide them in between books I’m reviewing or library books that are newly published. I even enjoyed dissecting the books and always took good notes and enjoyed the different comments and perspectives. The only Classic I remember not enjoying was Red Badge of Courage for some reason. I intend to revisit it soon to see if I’ve changed my mind. Good luck to your girls!

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  6. Nancy Jardine says:

    I’m very into to the classics but was both amazed and glad when my daughter number 2 told me she was studying Stephen King novel for her Higher English- as well as Shakespeare. “What?” I asked, “that’s not a classic.” I’m sure it wasn’t in 1997 but might be now!

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  7. Mike Staton says:

    Back in the ’70s, a friend had some college Shakespeare books that I thumbed through to look at his poetry. But actual reading of the classics… not since my college days. Through the decades I’ve read mostly fantasy novels.

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  8. Joe Stephens says:

    As a 12th grade English teacher, I’m kind of obligated to disagree with you on the high schoolers parsing the meaning of a book. If it’s done well by the teacher, the students can learn tools to be effective readers of complex literature. Learning the skills of active reading can open up whole worlds for readers who otherwise would end up saying, “It’s just too hard.” and not reading good, nuanced writing.

    On a personal level, I alternate. Every third book or so, I pick up a classic I haven’t gotten to before and read it. The rest of the time, I read from books for review and ones that I just want to read for fun.

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  9. Kathy Waller says:

    As a former teacher of literature, I have to say I love the classics. Mostly. When a student asked if I read Paradise Lost at home, nights, for fun, I said, “NO.” And although I started reading The Red Badge of Courage in 1968, I’ve vowed never to finish it. But so many others I still read over and over for pleasure. Right now I’m in the mood for William Dean Howells’ Annie Kilburn. I’m amazed at how many great novels are available as ebooks for only pennies.

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  10. S J Brown says:

    I am not really into classic literature. I tend to read something that might appeal to me regardless of the books reputation or age. I tend to glaze over when people begin dissecting a book. I don’t search for hidden meanings or symbolism when I read if the author hides a hidden meaning or symbol it stays hidden.

    Yes I am way behind reading blog posts. But I hate to skip any I might miss something interesting.

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