OPINION: Why Classical Lit is Great


Rya Walker

The Lord of the Flies book with a medal.

As a senior in high school and a creative writing fanatic, I’ve seen my fair share of books, poems, etc., and of course, I have my own opinions and critiques that I enjoy discussing with others, hearing differing opinions as the years go by and enjoying the company. Classics, however, are non-negotiable. They are for those appreciative of details, metaphors, and the ever-famous “what if” stories that delve into the human psyche. Time and “slow pacing” are necessary to tell the plot and story properly. It sets the romanticism that is The Great Gatsby, creates the horrifying, heart-racing description of In Cold Blood that draws you to the characters, the blunt, sombering realism that is To Kill a Mockingbird. When it comes to novels, a wise man taught me that God is in the details.
Classics are taught in schools for this exact reason. For the (generally small) amount of reading that is done in high school, the novels are able to teach children and teens alike the value of description and metaphors, small details that make the story more interesting and rich. Audiences would not sympathize and find themselves in a spiraling moral compass for the murderers in In Cold Blood were it not for the detail and research of their past as well as the events leading up to the deaths of the Clutter family. Lord of the Flies would merely be a modernized Grimm Brothers fairy tale if it weren’t for the analogies, metaphors, and insight. It is no wonder that people do not find classics entertaining. They are not reading the books for what they were made for and what schools intend to teach them while they read: applying information from current events and putting it into your writing, creating parallels that capture those who see them, making one’s writing memorable.
Much of the old writing is offensive, especially in pieces like To Kill a Mockingbird, which is undeniable. But to want to get rid of the book from schools because of that fact is missing the point. Novels that share the likeness To Kill a Mockingbird, in its own way, are supposed to be offensive, they’re supposed to make the reader uncomfortable and they’re supposed to give insight that many people, especially people in Azle, have not (and most likely will not) experience.
Classics are somber and reflective in their lessons because what they teach is not made to be taken lightly, and should not be expected to be forgotten or excused from being shown in schools because it upholds a “raw” atmosphere in both their purpose as well as the tone and detail in which they are written.