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

Lauren Slocum
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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! 

list ordered by

1
72 35
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
53 34
Wuthering Heights is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë

3
42 24
Ethan Frome is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Ethan Frome Edith Wharton

4
74 55
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger

5
71 55
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare

6
54 39
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway

7
80 66
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

8
44 31
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Great Expectations Charles Dickens

9
38 26
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
49 37
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

11
30 20
Finnegan's Wake is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

12
52 43
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Moby Dick Herman Melville

13
34 26
A Separate Peace is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
A Separate Peace John Knowles

14
45 40
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

Things You Miss Most About High School

15
40 35
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

16
23 17
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
30 25
Things Fall Apart is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe

18
27 22
Love in the Time of Cholera is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel García Márquez

19
20 16
Pamela is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Pamela Samuel Richardson

20
22 20
The Awakening is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Awakening Kate Chopin

21
30 30
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway

The Best Novels Ever Written

22
25 25
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
31 32
Sense and Sensibility is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen

24
53 58
Beowulf is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Beowulf Welwyn Wilton Katz

25
39 46
The Adventures of Huckleberry ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

26
52 62
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
26 32
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
On the Road Jack Kerouac

28
32 40
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad

18 Reasons Clone High Was Too Brilliant For Its Time

29
35 45
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Outsiders S. E. Hinton

30
36 47
The Crucible is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Crucible Arthur Miller

31
31 43
The Picture of Dorian Gray is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

32
21 31
Crime and Punishment is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky

33
28 42
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

34
53 76
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

35
30 46
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

36
36 58
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

37
33 54
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

38
32 54
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Frankenstein Mary Shelley

39
36 68
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
27 64
Nineteen Eighty-Four is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell