Classic Novels: Genius Writing or Historically Boring?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was published in 1813. This romance novel is one of the most widely recognized books in the world. It has sold over 20 million copies.

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was published in 1813. This romance novel is one of the most widely recognized books in the world. It has sold over 20 million copies.

     When classic novels are discussed, it becomes clear that most people have very strong opinions about them. Some believe that classics are dull and boring, while others think that they are the world’s greatest literature. This stigma goes even farther when people who like classics dismiss those who don’t and claim that they aren’t as well-versed in the world of literature. In reality, opinions on classic novels are similar to opinions on music or food; liking one doesn’t mean you are better or worse than those who like something else.

     Some people view classic novels as great literature and genuinely do enjoy reading them, but also enjoy other genres as well. This viewpoint somewhat falls between the two extreme ends of the spectrum. Ashley, even in features and reviews, it’s still correct for quotes to stand alone.  Create a new paragraph for Cindy’s quote. 

     “I really do like reading classic novels,” former teacher Cindy Crabtree said. “It just takes you back into different eras.”

     There is also a subsection of people who enjoy classics, but only certain ones written by certain authors. Mary Metropulos, a JeffCo teacher, gave her views on classics. 

     “I’ve read and really enjoyed several of Jane Austen’s novels – Pride and Prejudice; Sense and Sensibility; Emma and Northanger Abbey.  I love the exaggerated formal language she uses and the humor in her writing, especially how she makes fun of the social norms and expected propriety of that time.”

     Of course, classics were written a very long time ago so the views and beliefs are not the same as ours today. Because of this, they can be very difficult to relate to. During the period in which many popular classics were written, women were not at all equal and literature was dominated by men. This led to lots of sexism in these novels.    

     “I also read Tess of the D’urbervilles and didn’t like it that much.  It was very annoying to read how she was treated and the misogyny of that time,” Metropulos said. “Written by a man, of course!”

     Something that I think most of us remember is the few classic novels that we read in class. Books such as The Great Gatsby and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest have stuck with a lot of us, usually for different reasons. These lessons sparked a new passion for literature for some, but they bored others. Classic novels, love them or hate them, cause very polarizing opinions in all types of people.