"Growing up in a home where books were readily available and reading was encouraged, I always had my nose in a book. Naturally, as my reading tastes developed and my desire for more challenging and exciting stories grew, I turned to the classics. Well I remember shivering with fear as Jane walked with candle in hand through the dark and mysterious halls of Thornfield in Jane Eyre. Laughter escaped my lips as I pored over the illustrations of Mr. Bingley’s unusual attire in Pride and Prejudice, and I puzzled over the complexities of nineteenth century social conventions. As a student reading Thomas Hardy for the first time, I was filled with indignation at society’s treatment of the ill fated Tess in Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
Over the years in search of something to read which both stimulates and
engages the whole mind, I have returned to these now familiar pages again and again. Each time I make new and exciting discoveries, uncovering layers and depths which I had not seen before.
So why do the classics have such lasting appeal? Why are they a ‘must’
read?The classics have stood the test of time because they are some of the best literature ever produced by some of the greatest writers we have ever had. Their endurance is a testimony of their artistic merit and place within the greater literary tradition. The classics have appealed to people across the ages because their stories and characters are timeless as they deal with universal themes- ideas which we in the 21st century can identify with and see in our own society too.
The classics also portray human nature at its worst and its very best. We meet characters ruled by pride, greed, ambition and selfishness and in them we see mirrors of ourselves. We are also inspired by characters that stand up for the oppressed, fight against injustice and do what is morally right. The classics offer us a host of such individuals.
Admittedly, for some, picking up a classic to read can seem a daunting task at first because of the language. It can feel as if you have stepped into a completely different world. However, if you persevere, you will be enriched by the experience. Your grasp of language will expand and you will have an abundance of ways to express your thoughts and feelings.
For the reader who has never read a classic I would recommend one of the following: A Christmas Carol and A Tale od Two Cities by Charles Dickens; Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ you could have another trip to your local library to borrow one of the classics. If you live near a second hand bookshop you are bound to find plenty of classics for sale at very reasonable prices.