There are many reasons why I like classics better, and simply being an old book isn’t one of them. Sure, many of the classics I love come from times past rather than times now–but that isn’t what defines a classic. I believe it is rather a work written for all time, something that will continue to offer insights long after the era it is written in has passed. For time’s sake (I graduate tomorrow, hee I’m busy!) I’ll just list my top two reasons I love classics and list a few of my favorites.
- The level of plot. A classic goes beyond the standard A to B, this causes that chain of reactions. They are above plotless fan service and mindless romance. The plot of a classic takes unintended consequences into account, considers the problem from every angle and gives every character an opinion about it. There are no 2D characters in a classic, they all have goals and weaknesses, dreams and priorities. This depth is reflected in how every one of them reacts to a situation–or how they fail to react. A classic plot is intricate, regardless of the nature of the story. Even the most mundane tasks have layers–and a classic will delve into the heart of any situation to find the push and pull that drives our world. They take that beating connection and weave it into every aspect of their plot, of their tone and of their book. There are no extraneous moments, even when the scenes seem slow.
- The message. A classic is a book with something to say. As I mentioned in the introduction, one definition of a classic is an enduring work, a book that continues to add value to the discussion of a theme years after it has been written. Many people have come to believe that a book with a message must have an agenda of some sort–or dismiss the work as a didactic. A classic, however, proves that theory wrong. Classics–as a general rule–do not stop the story to preach to their audience. Rather, they show their readers the truth of what they are saying through the actions of their cast. When a moral message is given it is done skillfully, with respect for the reader’s intelligence and the character’s. Humor is an added bonus, but the message has to be there. No classic doesn’t have something important to tell the world.
My favorite classics:
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Maus, Art Spiegelman
All Quiet on the Western Front
Life of Pi, Yann Martel
Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens
Bleak House, Charles Dickens
Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare
Huck Finn, Mark Twain
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
The Little Princess, Francis Hodgsen Burnett
The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis
What didn’t make the cut:
Lord of the Rings
The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Little Prince
Thanks for reading,