Classics, classics, classics…
Whether you graduated high school already, are currently enrolled in high school, or maybe about to enter high school, it’s common knowledge that books are assigned by teachers for the purpose of
giving the student a painful death testing the student in numerous ways. However, has anyone wondered why we’re assigned these specific classics when there are plenty of new books being written every single year? Is there a legitimate reason or is it just tradition?
Whatever the answer, why is not the question we’re focusing on today. The question is: should we? Should we be forced to read classics?
What makes what people deem as classics more fit to be taught in a classroom than what is being written today? Is it the tendency to think that old equals wise? Is it that what is being written today is not as powerful? Or is it that classics have a certain influence over what is currently being written?
Personally, I am not the type of person to discuss a topic without at least compiling information and opinion from outside sources. I strongly believe roles influence attitudes. After all, the teacher would have a completely different perspective from the student and vice versa, right? I wanted to represent both sides equally, and so I spoke with both teachers and students. And truly, I’m glad I did. It was so heartwarming to see teachers’ faces light up as they spoke about their passion and why others should acknowledge the art in classics. It was funny to see the faces of annoyance on most students’ faces as they spoke about why classics suck. All teachers interviewed argued that students should be forced to read classics, while about 80% of students interviewed argued why students should not be forced to read classics. Below are the top three reasons/responses both to why students should and should not be forced.
- Classics are a one-way mirror to our history. Whether fiction or nonfiction, classic novels incorporate the conflicts both personally and socially at the time it was written, giving the reader an insight to society, events, and culture. Also, and much more interestingly, it allows the reader to see the advancements and changes developed in society from the time of publication to now.
- Classics have influenced modern works and styles of writing. Example: Shakespeare… enough said.
- Classics enhance your brain power. It’s true what they say; knowledge is power. The reading of classics, even though challenging at first, will expand your vocabulary, will allow you to understand and even take part of literary references and jokes, will boost your confidence both socially and academically, and will exercise your brain.
- If schools and teachers wish to promote reading and writing, they should not force students to read what they simply do not enjoy or will ultimately hate. The hatred toward literature, and overall reading, has become a trend, and many argue that it is due to the lack of expression and discovery in reading and writing allowed by schools.
- Classics should not be read for the sake of tradition but rather for its relevance. Why should an individual be forced to read what does not relate to the current situation?
- Modern books are just as effective at teaching the skills necessary to do well academically and grow as an individual. And they’re more likely to be enjoyed.
Please comment below and share with me your thoughts. Do you think students should be forced to read classics? Why or why not? Feel free to add to my ‘Top Three Reasons’ list!
I’m Sara, a Colombian teenager with a never-ending enjoyment for reading. I’m a Netflix and Disney enthusiast and my monumental obsession is coffee.