The Virtue of Classics- A Discussion

An open discussion of whether the name classic is truly deserved


Everyone is familiar with the so-called “classics”. Jane Eyre, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Life of Pi, and so many others. But how do these books earn their titles? And do they deserve it? Does being a classic really matter? Today’s blog post is going to be dedicated to discussing classical literature, and why that name is (un)deserved.

In my opinion, the only book that absolutely HAS to be read by every person, no matter their age/gender/religion/anything, is Harry Potter. Easily the best book of our generation, it teaches so many important lessons and is written amazingly well. I honestly believe that in the future, Harry Potter will become required reading in high schools. And if it doesn’t, then there is something very wrong with a system that prefers Lord of the Flies and Of Mice and Men. Most classics I find exceedingly dull, until the one moment when there is an ounce of climax. Praises for the way they are written are unwarranted, as the books are certainly not written to entertain. Take Pride and Prejudice for an example. The book has a good plot, and I found myself interested, but through the use of chapters upon chapters dedicated to describing the outdoors, the author efficiently causes readers to fall asleep. I understand the virtue of being challenged in everything that you read, and that is the reason I put myself through the misery of a classic in the first place. I just do not understand how those earned the title, and others did not.

I am sure there are plenty of other books written that deserve to be considered a classic, such as Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, which is largely overlooked despite the prevalence of his previous book Into The Wild. Perhaps there is a method used, but to me it seems quite arbitrary. I think that they should not name particular books as classics, as this produces a stigma. For example, recently my little sister was reading “The Little Prince” and my mom made the mistake of telling her that it was a classic. This caused her to moan in disgust and state that classics were very boring, instead of just beginning the book and deciding for herself. That may be just my family personally, but I think many more people would read books if they were not formerly labeled.

Classics are also seemingly closed to discussion. You cannot debate the virtues of reading a classic because people will simply respond, “But it’s a classic!”, thereby making any logical debate impossible. (By the way this is actually a persuasive strategy called Begging The Question, often used in advertisements) There is no room for talking and stating the classic isn’t good, because people insist on only stating the positives of a classic. Sure, it’s written in old English and still around today, but is it really that good?

What is your opinion on classics? I know I’m a bit harsh, and sometimes classics are deserving, but I want to know if other people share a similar opinion, or if I have a warped mind. So please comment below!!

Author: Joce

I read and I write about it. If I'm not online or with my nose in a book, I can probably be found at the basketball court.

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