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

Lauren Slocum
9.1k votes 880 voters 5.1k 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! 

list ordered by

1
186 129
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
160 115
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
217 171
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
147 108
Wuthering Heights is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Emily Brontë

6
139 102
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Charles Dickens

7
201 166
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
135 106
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 89
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
207 187
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
135 115
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
92 72
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
137 121
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
116 105
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 86
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
62 57
Finnegan's Wake is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

18
114 116
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
129 137
The Adventures of Huckleberry ... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

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
90 94
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Joseph Conrad

22
69 71
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
68 73
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 70
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
95 109
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

27
126 149
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
146 174
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
William Golding

29
46 52
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 40
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 76
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 78
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 48
Pamela is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Samuel Richardson

34
90 120
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
70 101
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
155 217
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
99 142
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
105 159
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
91 141
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
98 151
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
84 135
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Mary Shelley

44
93 168
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