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

Lauren Slocum
9.7k votes 929 voters 5.5k 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! 

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list ordered by
1
199 143
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Nathaniel Hawthorne
2
120 73
Ethan Frome is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Edith Wharton
3
232 181
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
William Shakespeare
4
169 123
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Ernest Hemingway
5
148 108
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Charles Dickens
6
214 173
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
J. D. Salinger
7
155 117
Wuthering Heights is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Emily Brontë
8
142 113
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
Herman Melville
9
217 198
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
F. Scott Fitzgerald
10
117 96
Jane Eyre is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Charlotte Brontë
11
141 122
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
12
97 79
A Separate Peace is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
John Knowles
13
125 110
A Tale of Two Cities is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Charles Dickens
14
142 130
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Jane Austen
15
76 65
Madame Bovary is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Gustave Flaubert
16
98 94
Sense and Sensibility is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Jane Austen
17
70 66
Love in the Time of Cholera is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Gabriel García Márquez
18
64 62
Finnegan's Wake is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
19
119 126
The Crucible is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Arthur Miller
20
136 147
The Adventures of Huckleberry ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
21
62 61
The Awakening is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Kate Chopin
22
73 74
Othello is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
William Shakespeare
23
93 100
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Joseph Conrad
24
70 74
Things Fall Apart is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Chinua Achebe
25
103 118
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School