Before I wrote this article I felt I need to do some research into what actually is considered as a ‘classic book’ and here was what I found.
1- A book that you can read over and over, quote your favourite lines and recommend to your friends saying ‘you have to read this, it’s such a classic’.
2- A book that you are compelled to read for GCSE or A Level English Literature because the teacher insists it was a classic in their day and still jolly well is now.
3- A book that is a well known story, a fairy tale perhaps such as Cinderella or Snow White.
4- A book bursting with complex language and archaisms.
5- A book that is timeless. One that our grandparents read in the past and that our grandchildren will read in the future.
6- A book that has value influencing and affecting people to this day.
With this in mind I proceeded to answer the question as to whether ‘classic books’ are valued in today’s society. In my personal opinion ‘classic books’ are not valued as much as they should be. If you were to do a survey of what word first comes to mind when you say ‘classic books’ I can guarantee that the words that most likely crop up will be ‘old’, ‘boring’, and ‘hard to read’. This perception puts people off them. At high school I was made to read Lord of the Flies by William Golding. It is an amazing book however it was a closed book exam (so we had to know the book inside out). We went over and over it week after week so it became tedious for everyone involved. If you mention the title to anyone in my year at high school I can guarantee people will groan as they reminisce back to year 11 English classes in the drama room. Granted, way of life is changing, new fashions are being brought in, new waves of intellectual genius is being thrust upon our society, but does this mean we should abandon the great literary works of Dickens, Austen and the Brontes? ‘Classic books’ are a great way to be transported back in time. They also offer us ideas that make us think long after we have closed the book which I think is an important feature of any literary work. Do you think classic books are valued less or more in today’s society? Please drop me a comment below with your opinions.
Sophie Chekruga 🙂