The classics stand test of time

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By: Alix John

I have been feeling ripped off lately. Since I work at a bookstore, the literary greats and people that love them constantly surround me. I know who Tom Sawyer and Jane Eyre are but I’ve never actually read their stories.
Most people are required to read the classics in high school, but I, for the most part never had to. I’ve dabbled with Shakespeare and glanced through ‘The Great Gatsby’ but I have yet to read them cover-to-cover. My teachers were too busy trying to keep class “cool” for us to actually learn anything.
Why is this? I’ve always considered myself a bookworm so what’s the problem? The fact is I’ve never had to read them. While ‘Little Women’ and ‘Little House on the Prairie’ continue to be personal favorites, classics have never seemed to make it to the top of my reading list.
But this’s going to change. I’m making a resolution to read mostly classics for the next year. Bold, right? But classics are extremely important. When I read Little Women, it takes me back to a simpler time. As a woman, it also makes me realize how lucky I am to have the opportunities I do.
For me, reading the classics inspires and motivates me. The way they acted back then was much more respectful and classy than the way we act now. I don’t think you would see Anna Karenina sporting a fake tan or Jay Gatsby chugging a beer bong.
When I read about Jo March pursuing her writing career when so few women did, it inspires me to work as hard as I can because female writers like Louisa May Alcott made it so I had that opportunity.
Novels from the past reinforce what is important to us. After hundreds, or even thousands, of years we are still writing about family, love and fate. While the time period is different, their situations are relatable and their lessons applicable.
Plus, reading the classics just makes you a more interesting person. I’m always envious of people who can spout quotes from their favorite author or book. They weave literary references into their daily conversations like it’s nothing. Don’t you want to be that person?  I know I do.

Email:anjohn@radford.edu

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