Thursday, April 08, 2010

Is it a classic because it's good or because English teachers assign it?

I recently picked up the first big Zombie Lit book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I got about 5 chapters in before deciding it might be funnier if I really knew what it was spoofing. Off I hied to the NetLibrary via my local library, and there downloaded all 11 hours of Pride and Prejudice. I have to say that aside from the strain induced by incredibly frequent eye rolls, it kept me engaged and entertained. So much so that I read The Scarlett Pimpernel and I'm about a chapter away from finishing Sense and Sensibility. While I can't say I understand why there are yearly conventions, I suppose the same can be said for many phenomena of my generation.

I had a hate/hate relationship with assigned reading. I don't know that I ever finished an assigned book unless we read it 100% in class. Cliff's Notes? A life saver. Since then, I've tried to go off and read some of them. Cannery Row, Hemmingway, Fitzgerald...I typically got about half a chapter in and never picked them up again. It's a bit easier with audio books. I'm not sure I'd have slogged through any of this stuff.

But who decides? Who decided Lord of the Flies was a "classic" and not just the product of a dude sitting down and thinking "How many symbols can I put in this book to drive sophomores NUTS in Mrs. Jones Advanced English?" I don't get it. Who likes some of this schlock? And if it DOES have merit, why waste it on hormone driven zombie freaks?

I dunno...I think I might pick up some Oscar Wilde next. I have the rest of Jane Austen waiting for me on my iPod. We'll see. Meanwhile, I'm taking suggestions for things that won't make me hate you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HA HA HA! This made me laugh:

A Jane Austen convention that calls their gift shop "Milsom Street."

I lived in Bath for three years and used to walk up Milsom street to work every day.

It's a bloody steep hill, I can tell you that.