We’ve all had to experience reading in a high school atmosphere. The ordeal starts by being given a boring, old book and a daunting reading schedule of two to three chapters a day. Then we spend an hour and a half talking about the book in class. To finish it all off, we have to spend our time at home writing three pages on its tedious plot.
One may feel obliged to simply disregard those boring old books. Some will ask: Why read a novel that has no relevance to today’s culture? Or why bring back the horrific memories that haunt me from high school? The answer to these questions is simple: these books are important.
When you hear about the book genre of classic literature, you may be quick to think of those confusing pieces from the Shakespearean era. However, the definition of classic literature goes beyond confusing Shakespearean text.
In this context, the term “classic” represents a work of art that is generally cherished. Therefore, classics can range from Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was published in 1960, to Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote,” published in 1605. It would be nearly impossible to debate that older books are more enjoyable to read. However, it is necessary to uphold their importance and appreciate the value they possess.
Classical pieces give readers the opportunity to fully comprehend a certain period of history. Reading a textbook about a time period or event can be uninspiring because the information is presented rather dully. But a majority of classical works create a better alternative to textbooks because they place the readers within a historical period and provide a personal perspective from the narrator’s point of view.
Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn recognized the benefits of literature as they help us to understand our culture and history.
“The only substitute for an experience we ourselves have never lived through is art, literature,” Solzhenitsyn states. “They possess a wonderful ability: beyond distinctions of language, custom, social structure, they can convey the life experience of one whole nation to another. Literature conveys an irrefutable condensed experience from generation to generation. Thus it becomes the living memory of the nation.”
Additionally, classic literature gives readers a chance to increase their vocabulary. Studies have shown that just 15 minutes of reading a day on a regular basis can lead to a rapid increase in vocabulary. This leads to better writing, conversing and making speeches because of an increased ability to communicate your thoughts. In order to commit to this practice and let the outcome reach its maximum effect, readers must be willing to shift from their normal trends of reading.
For example, someone who solely reads modern literature should read works from the Renaissance Era or the English Restoration to increase their vocabulary.
Certainly, the most notorious poet and playwright of the Renaissance Era was William Shakespeare. With classics such as “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Macbeth,” Shakespeare was one of the first to write about essential literary themes such as love, death, revenge and grief.
Shakespeare was also responsible for helping enhance the English language, developing words such as “amazement” and “because.” His style of English is recognized as the “Shakespearean language.” When someone reads Shakespeare, they are given a challenge that is certain to further develop their speech and terminology.
Although it may be hard to see the purpose of reading works such as these, high school teachers and professors have multiple reasons to assign them to their students. Classic novels had a major effect on the society before us, and their stories are still relevant today.
It is certain that novels from the Renaissance period to the modern period will involve deeper contemplation since they can be somewhat difficult. But that’s why people should want to take them on. Not only is it going to feel great once you conquer the book, but you could possibly use your brain in ways that you didn’t know you could.
Despite some protest, readers can still escape through the characters and setting in an old book. Classic books range from a multitude of genres, whether that be the fantasy genre with books like “The Lord of the Rings” or even in a children’s book such as “Charlotte’s Web.” Through any genre, classical literature is guaranteed to give you something of value to read.