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

Lauren Slocum
9k votes 859 voters 4.9k 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! 

list ordered by

1
184 126
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
112 69
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
158 111
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
Ernest Hemingway

4
214 167
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
William Shakespeare

5
137 96
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
144 104
Wuthering Heights is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Emily Brontë

7
199 161
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
J. D. Salinger

8
134 102
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
Herman Melville

9
112 86
Jane Eyre is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Charlotte Brontë

10
132 108
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
92 70
A Separate Peace is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
John Knowles

12
203 183
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
F. Scott Fitzgerald

13
136 116
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Jane Austen

14
96 82
Sense and Sensibility is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Jane Austen

15
114 102
A Tale of Two Cities is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Charles Dickens

16
69 59
Madame Bovary is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Gustave Flaubert

17
62 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
113 115
The Crucible is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Arthur Miller

19
65 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
Gabriel García Márquez

20
89 92
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Joseph Conrad

21
69 70
Othello is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
William Shakespeare

22
125 135
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
57 58
The Awakening is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Kate Chopin

24
68 72
Crime and Punishment is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

25
65 69
Things Fall Apart is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Chinua Achebe

26
145 167
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
William Golding

27
125 144
Beowulf is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Welwyn Wilton Katz

28
93 107
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
46 51
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 Erich Maria Remarque

30
35 39
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 Daniel Keyes

31
63 74
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
Ernest Hemingway

32
62 77
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Jack Kerouac

33
38 47
Pamela is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Samuel Richardson

34
88 118
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
14 24
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 Walter M. Miller, Jr.

36
70 100
The Picture of Dorian Gray is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

37
153 212
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

38
99 140
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
S. E. Hinton

39
13 27
Deathwatch is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
DaleBerridge added Robb White

40
104 157
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
John Steinbeck

41
91 139
The Iliad ; and, the Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

42
97 149
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Ray Bradbury

43
83 133
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Mary Shelley

44
91 164
Nineteen Eighty-Four is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
George Orwell