The first classic my mum read to me was probably The Hobbit. Since reading was a huge part of our homeschooling, we went on to read lots of classics in my grade school years. Sometimes we considered them 'lit reads', like Frankenstein.or The Indian in the Cupboard. Other times, we considered them 'history' reads, like Rifles for Watie or Johnny Tremain.
In upper grade school, I was assigned lit readings, but usually they didn't look that different from what I read normally. For school I read Jane Eyre. On my own I read Anne of Green Gables (and the rest of the series). In high school I took an in-person literature class, where we read everything from Shakespeare to Austen to Homer.
In summers, on my own, and now that I've graduated, I've never considered not reading a classic because it was long/hard/for 'smart people. I grew up reading many classics before I was 'ready' for them...but it was that fact that grew my understanding of literature.
I love classics for many reasons, but one of the chief ones has to be the humanity of it all. To connect with a fictional character....written 200 years ago...and completely understand what they're feeling...is amazing, to say the least. Classics will always be relevant to our lives because of that connection. Style changes. Words change. Situations change. But people--really--never do.
Humanity has always dealt with poverty. And striving for success.
Humanity has always dealt with love--falling in, falling out, unrequited love and undeserved love.
Humanity has always asked questions that no one could answer. Humanity has always lived with regrets. Felt alone. Felt scared. Felt joy. Had rare, beautiful moments of connection and complete understanding with one another. Humanity has always been flawed, sad, and beautiful and the classics remind us of that.
The classics are important. They give us a look at what life was really like. They improve our vocabulary. They allow us to analyze. But mostly, they allow us to connect. With real people who wrote out a story people still read today. With fictional characters who don't always fully realize aren't real. And with our peers...whether that's over coffee, or in class.
I'm in the mood for an Austen novel.
What do you think of the classics? Share your thoughts in a comment, blog, or on instagram, twitter, and tumblr using the hashtag #everydaygeekjuly. Tomorrow, our prompt will be 'why I hate Frozen'. Specific, I know. Thanks for reading!
Happy Sunday! xoxo