- What is the best classic you were “forced” to read in school (and why)?
- What was the worst classic you were forced to endure (and why)?
- Which classic should every student be required to read (and why)?
- Which classic should be put to rest immediately (and why)?
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Technically, I think I read this long before I was assigned it in a senior-level literature class in college. But when I read it for class, I was able to get so much more out of it--for the first time, I understood a book in terms of how it fit with its time period, understood how its narrative framing worked, and understood the critical debate surrounding it. In short, I had an amazing professor who made what might have otherwise been a "meh" sort of book into a fascinating one that became the basis of my senior thesis. And then I went on to get a Master's degree with an emphasis in Romantic-era literature...
What was the worst classic you were "forced" to endure (and why)?
I'm going with Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, not because it was necessarily that bad, but because I had to read it so many freakin' times. The heavy-handed symbolism can only be re-interpreted so many ways before the possibilities are exhausted.
Which classic should every student be required to read (and why)?
No title comes to mind right now, but it should be something accessible--not too old to be daunting, not young enough so as not to be tested by time. Not something overtly didactic, but not something too "fluffy." For all I know, this book may not exist. Or perhaps there are many books by this definition, and as many teachers to teach them to as many classes. In short, I don't believe there is one book every person should read. The literary canon is a good starting point, but by no means comprehensive or even applicable to every reader in every location or subculture.
Which classic should be put to rest immediately (and why)?
I think I answered this in the latter part of my response to the previous question.