Most high school students were almost certainly forced to read through a slush pile of wordy literature. Whether you were an AP student or you coasted by in English 101, you definitely read some classic books that just don't hold up. Even though they’re considered paradigms of creative writing, certain books assigned for old school curriculums are, in fact, outdated and occasionally problematic.
No one is saying these classic novels should be forgotten, but it's debatable whether they should be shoved down students' throats. There are so many modern masterpieces that are more relevant and poignant. High schoolers deserve a different caliber of writing: it's time.
Why are you torturing yourself? You don't need to read Seamus Heaney's Beowulf. It's a story about how nothing matters aside from masculinity and fighting monsters. However, if there aren't any monsters around, it's also fine to fight other men.
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Geoffrey Chaucer's book The Canterbury Tales serves as a great reminder of why living in the 21st century is so great. The acclaimed piece of fiction is actually incredibly elitist, sexist, and culturally discriminatory. For example, there aren't many female characters in the fiction collective. The female characters we do meet seem to be uniquely capable of leading men to their downfalls. Plus, the pilgrimage the characters embark upon does not immediately resonate with modern readers.
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Everyone goes through a phase where they read JD Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. The coming of age novel about Holden Caulfield really resonates with many angst-ridden teenagers. But it's hardly the best coming of age piece that's ever been written. This tale really illuminates the problems of a wealthy kid who could stand to be a little more realistic.
#18 on The Best Novels Ever Writtensee more on The Catcher in the Rye
Here are some tips for reading Herman Melville's Moby Dick should you choose to do so (which you shouldn't). Rip out and get rid of every chapter that has something to do with gristle or the amount of crew members that go on a whaling boat. After that, the rest of the book will readable, but only relatively interesting.
#90 on Books That Changed Your Lifesee more on Moby-Dick; or, The Whale