Passion for classic literature is dying. For example, discussing “Of Mice and Men” in my freshman English class garnered the general response of apathy, teens groaning every time we went over the themes in the book, the iconic novel failing to capture their interest at all. This failure to ignite passion or joy in most students may come from the distance these classic novels have from the modern-day world, but they provide invaluable lessons that will not be as easily found in modern literature.
Despite plenty of kids loving to read in their younger years, growing up for many came with a lack of enthusiasm for reading, especially the classic novels that feel so far removed from our reality. Of course, many teens still read for pleasure, if they can find the time, but rarely do they find pleasure reading the classics. A study even shows that fewer young children have been reading books for entertainment in recent years.
A “classic,” a term with a debatable meaning, refers to a novel with a significant literary influence not written in modern time. Classics such as “The Scarlet Letter,” “Things Fall Apart,” and “1984” make their way into the curriculum of high schools across the globe. The varied writing styles present in these novels alone should attract young readers. They differ greatly from a more modern style of prose in terms of sentence structure, vocabulary, and overall narrative, allowing the reader to see a different kind of literature.
Books, generally, can be an amazing factor in socializing the younger generation and, according to Scientific American, drastically improve social functioning and empathy. In a time that is so focused on the social aspect of life with social media posts constantly popping up on our phones like little bubbles of the lives of others, the importance of laying down a substantial foundation of emotional awareness and sociability can not be underestimated. Even reading to children can boost their vocabulary by kindergarten.
Challenging language and a perplexing style may avert readers trying to flip through the pages of a classic, but this seemingly odd style and structure is part of the importance. Reading is all about switching perspectives and viewing a side of the world you may have never thought of before. While books written not so long ago carry valuable lessons, classics work to give you a way to connect with the world and the past in a familiar fashion: narrative.
Fundamentally, classic novels provide the basic benefits of social awareness and an enhanced vocabulary, teaching lessons of humanity applicable to modern issues, while allowing the reader to gain a grand perspective into the past, bringing the values into the future.