The Classics

Kegsoccer challenged me to take part in this survey about the “classics” of literature. Below are the questions…

  1. What is the best classic you were “forced” to read in school (and why)?
  2. What was the worst classic you were forced to endure (and why)?
  3. Which classic should every student be required to read (and why)?
  4. Which classic should be put to rest immediately (and why)?
  5. **Bonus** Why do you think certain books become classics?

1.  I grew up in a military family and we moved around a lot.  One thing that fascinated me was which books were used at which grade level the various places we lived.  There are some that are univeral like Romeo and Juliet in the ninth grade and Lord of the Flies in the ninth grade, but there were some I missed such as not reading To Kill A Mockingbird or Catcher in the Rye as part of my formal education.  I was thinking back on all the books I’ve read as part of my formal education and I’d have to say the best ones were A Tale of Two Cities and My Antonia.  I really liked both of them. 

2. Lord of the Flies.  Ugh, I just despise every last second of that book.  Honestly, I think it’s just an OK novel that a lot of English teachers with waaaaaaaaaaaay too much free time on their hands have sat around and read a lot of crap into so they can inflict it on unsuspecting freshman and totally destroy their love of reading.  I think it’s a pact–the book is so bad, they want everyone to suffer and so they come up with all this garbage that ‘s “in” there if you sit around, contemplating the book.   This book alone makes me want to write a great book, have it taught in literature classes and after I perish, come out with an edition that says, “I wrote this because I felt like it and I never put it any symbolism or other stuff….so all you freshman English students are right and can now laugh at your English teacher.”

3.  To Kill A Mockingbird.  It’s a novel that just works on so many levels.  I loved reading it and it’s one I pick up to re-read every couple of years.  It’s just fantastic.  Timeless, well-written….a great book. 

4.  Lord of the Flies. 

5.  Books become classics for a variety of reasons.  A lot of them for what the writer does in the story or how the story is told.  Shakespeare is classic for his incredible use of the English language in a way that hasn’t been equalled since.  Dickens is a classic because of the way he tells stories.  There are others that are classics for their commentary and how they changed the world (The Jungle, Uncle Tom’s Cabin).  And there are some that are classics just because they’re such a great book to read.  I find myself wondering which Stephen King books will stand the test of time and be read by future generations.  I think The Stand has a great chance.   I think to be a classic, the book has to have something that transcends just being “good.”

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