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

Lauren Slocum
9.2k votes 888 voters 5.2k views 44 items

List Rules Vote up the most overrated required reading.

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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
189 130
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
114 70
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
162 115
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
219 173
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
140 102
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
147 110
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
203 166
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
137 106
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
113 90
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
209 188
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
F. Scott Fitzgerald

11
137 116
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
139 122
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Jane Austen

13
92 74
A Separate Peace is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
John Knowles

14
117 105
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
Charles Dickens

15
96 87
Sense and Sensibility is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Jane Austen

16
71 60
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
115 116
The Crucible is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Arthur Miller

18
62 57
Finnegan's Wake is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

19
91 94
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Joseph Conrad

20
65 64
Love in the Time of Cholera is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Gabriel García Márquez

21
130 140
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
69 72
Othello is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
William Shakespeare

23
57 59
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
65 70
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
68 75
Crime and Punishment is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Fyodor Dostoyevsky