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

Lauren Slocum
7.8k votes 734 voters 4.1k 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
158 112
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
99 61
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
137 96
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
121 82
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Great Expectations Charles Dickens

5
184 143
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
127 91
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
100 71
Jane Eyre is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë

8
173 140
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger

9
116 91
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Moby Dick Herman Melville

10
181 156
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

11
117 96
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
80 60
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
120 101
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
100 85
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

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15
83 71
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
61 49
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
57 48
Finnegan's Wake is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

18
60 55
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
97 97
The Crucible is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Crucible Arthur Miller

20
82 81
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
116 119
Beowulf is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Beowulf Welwyn Wilton Katz

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22
111 114
The Adventures of Huckleberry ... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

23
62 61
Othello is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Henry VIII William Shakespeare

24
59 60
Things Fall Apart is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe

25
50 50
The Awakening is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Awakening Kate Chopin

26
131 143
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
38 37
All Quiet on the Western Front is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
27 25
Flowers for Algernon is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Gin Andreas added Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes

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29
83 92
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

30
57 65
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway

31
56 65
Crime and Punishment is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky

32
34 41
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
82 100
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

34
55 68
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
On the Road Jack Kerouac

35
91 119
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Outsiders S. E. Hinton

The Best Autobiographies Ever Written

36
10 16
A Canticle for Leibowitz is listed (or ranked) 36 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.

37
66 90
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
96 134
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

39
128 179
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

40
83 121
The Iliad ; and, the Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

41
84 125
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
8 23
Deathwatch is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
DaleBerridge added Deathwatch Robb White

43
74 115
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
82 139
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