You Aren’t Reading Enough Classical Literature

You Aren’t Reading Enough Classical Literature

Benefits of reading the greats
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Lately, I’ve interacted with multiple individuals who have told me the same, unsettling truth.

“I never really read classical literature.”

At first, I thought my initial shock was only because I can devour books whole and have read obsessively since I was three or four years old (a Mom-verified fact). Not everyone had the same, nerdy homeschool-setting exposure to the sheer volume of classical literature that I did, after all.

But then I came to realize that not only did these individuals never read classical literature in their early years, but that this trend continued throughout their time in high school and college. The avoidance of these works was a choice. If it wasn’t required for class, these people found no reason to read the classics. The most Shakespeare any of them have read is Romeo and Juliet, and at the mere mention of the play, they all cringe.

As a writer, this was awful enough. Upon thinking it over, however, I realized my reaction didn’t come from my writer side at all. When my tongue blurted out the first thing that came to mind, “What do you mean, you’ve never read that?” it drew from my most basic appreciation for literature and nothing else.

It took me a while to figure out why this bothered me so much. Sure, not everyone loves to read. Some people are even bad at reading, and will tell you straight-up that they find it grueling. I can understand it in the same manner that I find mathematics grueling. Everyone is different.

But here’s the thing: even though I’m terrible at math, I took courses up through pre-calculus. My education in math, torturous as it was, taught me the basics of arithmetic and numbers required for a person to function in normal society. I can reduce fractions for recipes and calculate time/travel equations well enough not to be late. For my role in society, this is all I need.

Now another thing: people rarely hold mathematics and literature in the same regard. One does not require the knowledge that Victor Frankenstein and the Creature, toward the end of "Frankenstein", both deliver monologues which unveil the depths of their character development. Right? It doesn’t affect normal life in any way.

Except it does.

Literature is a unique medium which communicates the intricacies of human nature in a way no other thing can. Words hold incredible power, and the written word even more so. Books epitomize human creativity because not only do they capture the message of the writer, but they also harness the imaginative capabilities of the reader.

For instance, when Victor and the Creature give their last words, Mary Shelley lays bare Victor’s realization of his self-centered follies, and the Creature’s remorse for his once-presumed-righteous actions. Not only do the readers get to enjoy a thrilling tale of adventure, murder and revenge, but they simultaneously experience the moral extremes Shelley presents—allowing them to weigh the meaning of humanity with its own shortcomings. In "Frankenstein" is a warning against the dangers of extreme pride, thoughtless curiosity and an unwillingness to face ethical responsibilities.
"In life and art both… we are always trying to catch in our net of successive moments something that is not successive…. But I think it is something done—or very nearly done—in stories. I believe the effort to be well worth making." - C.S. Lewis

This is not something you can learn from an algebra equation. It is the examination of a major quality of the human race. While people can find these themes in real life, the involvement of reading them in literature is unequivocal. Classical novels like "Frankenstein" may heighten readers’ understanding of life. They can explain unfamiliar emotions and situations. They can create empathy and move people to action over a just cause. Literature’s influence on minds and cultures has shaped countless movements and brought new consciousness to human existence.

In other words: books are not to be sneezed at.

Of course, classical novels are not the only literature that can accomplish these things. But contrast the popular fiction of today with the early forms of the novel and literature in general, and you’ll see a stark difference. Historical study is essential to understanding the world, and reading the classics is just as essential to understanding literature.

The “flash fiction” of today—as my Literature professor calls it—tends to gloss over the details classic novels study in-depth. Modern novels are more tailored toward a reader with a short attention span. The discipline of reading a piece of classical literature can improve not only your own writing (if you’re a writer), but your grasp on the fundamentals of human nature and the exploration of life’s major events.

Besides, once you get into it, the classics are just plain good stories. Lose yourself in the romantic tension of Austen and Bronte novels. Ride the high seas with Melville or Forester. Struggle against injustice with Shelley. And all the while, enjoy an exploration of the beauty and depth of the human condition.

Here’s your challenge for the New Year: read more classical literature.

Cover Image Credit: Stocksnap.io

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13 Movies Every Couple Needs To Watch Before They Get Married

Let's be honest, Rachel McAdams is in all the best love stories.

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These 13 movies are the foundation of any long-lasting relationship, and I'm not joking. Each movie will show you something new about your partner, and make you ask each other the hard questions. How many kids do you want and how are you going to raise them? What would happen if you got into a horrible accident? Some are less serious though, like what if you could time travel?

I promise that not every one of these movies is a Nicholas Sparks classic, and I also promise that not every movie has Rachel McAdams in it!

1. "The Time Traveler's Wife"

This movie is both heartbreaking and amazing.

2. "About Time"

Let's be honest, Rachel McAdams is in all the best love stories. It's on Netflix right now, so grab some snacks and turn it on!

3. "Like Crazy"

This infamous Tumblr gif came from "Like Crazy." It's about a couple who goes long distance and build their life together. I used to cry every time I watched it, and I'm no crier! It also has the (now famous) Felicity Jones in it.

4. "The Notebook"

Every girl wants this kind of love.

5. "The Last Song"

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are literally married now so if that isn't good luck, I don't know what is.

6. "Safe Haven"

You guessed it! This is another Nicholas Sparks classic. This movie has a dark twist as well, which men will love.

7. "Inside Out"

You may be thinking that this one is a bit weird. Well, this movie will help both you and your partner understand each other's emotions better.

8. "The Choice"

This movie is great because the female lead is feisty and extremely intelligent, which usually doesn't happen in love stories. How do you keep the love alive with a woman who is hard to get, and even harder to keep entertained?

9. "The Longest Ride"

Originally I could not stand the main female lead (Britt Robertson) but now she is in one of my favorite shows (For The People), so I have no choice. This movie had me on the end of my seat, and as a rom-com it is a must.

10. "The Age Of Adaline"

I began loving the name 'Adaline' thanks to this movie. This unlikely love story and self love journey really gets me.

11. "The Vow"

Imagine falling in love with someone and building a life, but an accident forces you to start all over?

12. "Titanic"

If they don't have any sort of reaction to this movie, they are probably not the one for you.

13. "Yours, Mine, & Ours"

Yours, Mine, & Ours is a true classic. Are you Helen or Frank Beardsley? You should figure that out before you tie the knot!

You're welcome!

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15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"

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This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.

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Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.

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Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.

3.Bunnicula

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You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.

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You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.

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The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers

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You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.

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The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"

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The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution

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This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi

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Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters

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You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs

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Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.

14.Go-Gurt

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Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets

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Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

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