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

Lauren Slocum
8.8k votes 841 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
179 126
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
155 110
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
135 95
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
143 103
Wuthering Heights is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë

6
209 165
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare

7
194 158
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
131 102
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
111 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
130 108
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
91 70
A Separate Peace is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
A Separate Peace John Knowles

12
199 181
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

13
133 116
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
113 102
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
94 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
68 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
111 115
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 63
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 91
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
124 134
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
67 70
Crime and Punishment is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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
144 162
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Lord of the Flies William Golding

26
125 140
Beowulf is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Beowulf Welwyn Wilton Katz

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
92 106
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
60 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
88 117
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
98 138
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
149 211
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
102 154
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

42
95 145
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

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
90 160
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