That’s boring: why classic literature is no longer relevant to tech-savvy teens (or not)

English teachers and librarians frequently lament the revelation their students feel toward classical literature, specifically anything written before the 20th century. Not only do they believe that today’s young adults need the short, quick, and immediate (if you can call it that) prose from cell phone text messages, but they will no longer read classic literature on their own, for pleasure, unless they be so. assigned, and even then, teachers are forced to test against Cliff Notes and search the Internet for evidence of plagiarized documents. With random predictions predicting the ruin of paper and the downfall of traditional libraries, is it a waste of time to subject teens to the likes of Homer and other historical authors during this Information Age when bite-size information is the rule of the day?

For many students, who do not hesitate to complain, the language of the previous writers is too difficult. Since people no longer speak or write like Shakespeare and Jane Austen did, it makes little sense for them to study these archaic modes of communication. After all, they could be developing Power Point presentations that will surely be something more relevant to your future. Of course, the “too harsh” theory is something English teachers should never succumb to or accept when rushing to defend centuries-old literature. The vast majority of students may not become experts in medieval literature, but each can benefit from the self-discipline of a reading of OTHELLO, Beowulf, gold Crime and Punishment provides.

Although surely, self-discipline is a timeless trait that goes beyond the study of English literature; It could be drawn from a myriad of other disciplines such as Geometry, Computer Programming, Graphic Design, etc. So getting to the question of relativity, these are works of classical literature that are still relevant to high school students today when, as statistics show, they are reading modern texts record like Harry Potter and the Twilight Serie? And certainly people around the world (and we may be speaking globally these days) are reading the 175,000 books that publishers publish annually; they certainly wouldn’t be publishing books of any kind if no one bought them.

A portion of these 175,000 published books are paperbacks, reprints of successful books, many of which turn out to be classics (at least for now). But instead of delving into the virtual world of statistics, it might be interesting to revisit some classics to see their value first-hand, or at least through the lens of this article. The following classics continue to be relevant in terms of content and more to people today.

Moby dickHerman Melville’s symbolizes the fear of teenagers trapped in American literature classes everywhere. Why, when none of them want to go whale hunting, they should spend weeks reading and discussing this particular work that seems so far removed from their contemporary lives. There could be a discussion as to why the novel is uniquely important to the founding of American literature, but the novel’s simple relevance can be summed up as a study of good and evil, humanity’s relationship to nature and nature. need to interact successfully with fellow human beings. His themes are timeless and no one has yet conveyed them as deeply as Melville did with this particular work.

In 1995, South Carolina-born Susan Smith was found guilty of murdering her three-year-old and fourteen-month-old children by tying them up in the back seat of a car and driving to a ramp on a lake where she released the brakes and watched as the car deliberately plunged into the water with her children and sank. Theories about the heinous murders abounded, but a disgruntled murderer and a new man were in her life at the time of the incident. In 431 BC, the ancient Greek tragedian Euripides first produced the drama Medea. Medea’s character does the unthinkable: she kills her own children to rob her unfaithful husband. Horror, in its inexplicable forms, is still a part of human civilization and how much better is it to sink its motivations than within the harmless pages of a book? And why not start with the beginnings of Western literature with a poet who catalogs human motivation like no one else.

Teen pregnancy is not a new concept; If you had asked Thomas Hardy in the late 19th century, he could tell you all about Tess and how a youthful indiscretion resulted in a pregnancy that indirectly led to her own untimely death. Hardy’s text is also not an indictment against promiscuity; in fact, she favored Tess among all her classic heroines. Instead of, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, written at the end of the Victorian era, is an indictment against society, religion, and the people in Tess’s life who rejected her with their morality, a rejection that resulted in her downfall. True, Victorians, even late Victorians like Hardy, tended to be wordy and employ English vocabulary on a large scale, but little can rival the power of Hardy’s heroine except perhaps Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote a little own American tale. titled fallen woman The scarlet letter. Should adolescent girls think about the ramifications of unplanned pregnancy in the 21st century? Millions are spent educating them; there’s no reason that Hardy and Hawthorne can’t help.

But before this exam turns into a discussion of fallen literary women, consider the relativity of a character like Homer’s Achilles who appears in the book. Iliad. Forget the fact that you are the son of a goddess (Thetis, Greek goddess of the sea); Today’s fantasy-fed, vampire-loving teens will swallow it anyway. Achilles is a warrior sent to Troy to fight the ten-year conflict that took back Helen, the Angelina Jolie of the ancient world. Achilles, in his grief for a fallen comrade, breaks the rules of war and damages his own sense of honor. With the United States currently at war in multiple places, an Achilles study is not only relevant, but possibly essential and possibly always will be as long as peace remains an elusive state.

Fortunately, the ancient Greek texts of the Iliad They are adapted to English, but demanding English teachers still require students to read Shakespeare in its original form. Its true writers no longer write in iambic pentameter, except by chance and even then it goes unnoticed, but the Bardo characters are as relative today as ever. For example, King Lear raises a lot of ungrateful daughters. Loyalty, betrayal, villainy, loves, these are often the heart of Shakespeare’s plays and never go out of style despite the language barrier. Once students have mastered the language, most of the time, they become fascinated with the connection they have to the story through this language and how the characters remind them of themselves and others.

And maybe it comes down to that: reading by others, others who, until now, have stood the test of time. When teens read and discuss characters, they make judgments that could and will likely influence their own judgments as adults. There are many jokes and quotes that warn of failure to understand history as those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it. Classical literature is relevant because it offers readers the opportunity to empathize deeply, understand deeply, and disconnect from their own universe for a while. Disconnecting from technology can bring calm, discipline, and refreshment to minds that seem born to multitask. Certainly one can shout the modern relevance of a host of classics from Pride and prejudice to Moby dick. Until children develop their own taste for literature, the situation could be compared to eating vegetables: they must do it because it is good for them.

2011 Moira G Gallaga