Should we read the classics?


Photo by Lilly Hall

Lilly Hall, Campus & Features Editor

Classic literature can bring a groan from high school students when announced by a teacher for novel study. Typically long and wordy, classic books are often hard to get through. Is it finally time for more progressive choices to surpass the old? Or should the classics still be a staple of English classes?

English teacher Eileen Lowry thinks people should be open to trying different types of books, including the oldies. 

 “The classics often challenge us as readers: they show us a world that we may never experience and from a perspective that we may not identify with,” Lowry said.

Although some classic literature may seem outdated, English teacher Kerry Davidson believes their messages are timeless.

She believes that “Lord of the Flies,” “1984” and “Pride and Prejudice” are prime examples of classic literature. Davidson argues that “Lord of the Flies” and “1984” still contain relevant messages about greed and dictatorship, while “Pride and Prejudice” has plenty to teach us, especially about the unjust treatment of women.

 “Classics are classics for a reason, and though that may sound cliche, I believe it,” she said. “Why else would some books over 200 years old still be printed and sold and read? Because people see something in them of value and readers find messages that they can connect to today’s societies and their own lives.”

Librarians Jef Mueller and Valerie Kettner agree that reading classic literature is important, but that students should take their time getting around to reading them. 

“I do believe that at some point in people’s lives, it is a good thing to read some classic literature. That said, I don’t necessarily believe it has to happen in your high school years,” Mueller said.  

“I think people should read them, but I don’t know that they should be required,” Kettner said. “I found that I enjoyed them more when I was older than when I was in high school.”

English teacher Jodi Henry thinks reading should be fun, and the genre of books should be up to the reader. Henry notes that classic books aren’t always relevant, and are usually related to the social, political, and economic order during that time. 

“If a more modern text shares the same messages, but is more relevant to the reader,” Henry said. “It should be read.”