Reading The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School  

Lauren Slocum
8.8k votes 839 voters 4.8k views 44 items

List Rules Vote up the most overrated required reading.

They say there's no accounting for taste and overrated classic literature seems to prove as much. While critics, scholars, and your high shool English teacher may gushed over certain canonical works, you may look back at such novels and novellas with profound confusion. Were they really that good? Below, you will find all the worst books from high school ranked by your votes! 

Books become classics for a variety of reasons. Politics, privilege, and sometimes random chance help determine which texts stand the test of time. This means some books lauded as veritable epitomes of literary excellence may have just kind of lucked out. There are some books you shouldn't have to read in high school, regardless of how esteemed they may be. Given J.D. Saligner's shoddy reputation, do we really have to keep revisiting The Catcher in the Rye? And while Beowulf is one of the oldest stories ever told, the narrative is pretty uninteresting when you get down to it. Browse this list for other works that should be nixed from required reading lists everywhere! 

1
178 126
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

2
111 68
Ethan Frome is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Ethan Frome Edith Wharton

3
155 109
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway

4
209 164
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare

5
134 95
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Great Expectations Charles Dickens

6
142 103
Wuthering Heights is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë

7
193 158
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger

8
130 102
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Moby Dick Herman Melville

9
110 86
Jane Eyre is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë

10
129 108
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

11
199 180
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

12
90 70
A Separate Peace is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
A Separate Peace John Knowles

13
132 116
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

14
112 102
A Tale of Two Cities is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens

15
93 82
Sense and Sensibility is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen

16
67 57
Madame Bovary is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert

17
61 56
Finnegan's Wake is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

18
111 114
The Crucible is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Crucible Arthur Miller

19
64 62
Love in the Time of Cholera is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel García Márquez

20
88 90
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad

21
124 132
The Adventures of Huckleberry ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

22
68 70
Othello is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Henry VIII William Shakespeare

23
125 139
Beowulf is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Beowulf Welwyn Wilton Katz

24
56 58
The Awakening is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Awakening Kate Chopin

25
66 70
Crime and Punishment is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky

26
143 161
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Lord of the Flies William Golding

27
63 68
Things Fall Apart is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe

28
92 104
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

29
44 48
All Quiet on the Western Front is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
DaleBerridge added All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque

30
34 38
Flowers for Algernon is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Gin Andreas added Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes

31
62 73
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway

32
37 47
Pamela is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Pamela Samuel Richardson

33
59 77
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
On the Road Jack Kerouac

34
88 115
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

35
13 22
A Canticle for Leibowitz is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Laura Krumwiede added A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller, Jr.

36
97 137
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Outsiders S. E. Hinton

37
68 100
The Picture of Dorian Gray is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

38
148 210
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

39
91 136
The Iliad ; and, the Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

40
12 27
Deathwatch is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
DaleBerridge added Deathwatch Robb White

41
95 144
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

42
101 154
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

43
82 130
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Frankenstein Mary Shelley

44
89 159
Nineteen Eighty-Four is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell