Should classic literature be taught in 21st-century schools


Classical literature is a term that refers to the literary masterpieces of Roman, Greek, and some other ancient civilizations. Some great examples of classical literature are the works of Sophocles, Ovid, and Homer. Classical literature involves many forms of writing such as novels, lyrics, tragedy, comedy, etc. In the past, the ancient Roman and Greek authors were viewed as the best writers, and studying their texts was essential for students.

Although even nowadays, the value of classical literature can’t be overestimated because it is still relevant after many years. For example, while reading A Modest Proposal analysis, we can still see how some things in our society and economy haven’t changed. Even now we can see many essays on a modest proposal where students write about the problems of our society that have not been resolved after decades and are relevant even now. 

Classical literature may not be studied as often as it used to, but these books still manage to find their way into the minds of many students. Although some students are against studying classic literature, and think that this literature is useless and can’t teach them anything in nowadays society. But the others are sure that students should read classic literature because it gives a glimpse into the past and helps them understand the world around them better.

Teaching classic literature in the 21st century

 Many think that advanced technology and the internet are a threat to classics. Education is much easier now, thanks to the help of videos, websites, online courses, etc.

However, the traditional way of teaching will stay useful no matter what. 

There are still teachers in many schools and colleges worldwide that teach about classic literature and constantly assign papers or essays on those topics. However, based on student’s research, the book Catcher in the Rye is one of the most popular among students nowadays, which is interesting as it was written decades ago. There are even many free essay samples found online written by students that were inspired by the main and very prominent character of Holden Caulfield. Catcher in the rye was written by Jerome David Salinger, a popular American writer. This book holds a very important place in world literature. It is considered a classic because it is written in an accessible and conversational tone.

Although, as we mentioned before, there is a huge issue going on between modern literature vs. classical literature. Usually, young people choose to appreciate modern literature more because it is easier to understand. While the classic requires deeper dive to be able to understand it. Many papers from modern writers state that modern literature uses classic literature as a template, but many people claim that modernist literature is completely different and tries to be influential, but it is not. This disagreement will always exist. All we can say is that classic literature is full of history and knowledge, where you get to read far more than just dialogues. And suppose we forget all about classical culture and literature. In that case, we will start losing our memory and start to live in a society that is only focused on the present.

Benefits of reading classic literature for students

Reading even short summaries of these books can be challenging. However, good readers love challenging themselves with good books, and those challenges provide students with many benefits. The following are some thoughts on why we should read classic literature.

  • These kinds of books usually contain provoking ethical moments. That can lead to character development. It will make you a good reader, but also some studies have shown that reading classic literature can make you a better person.
  • When reading classic literature, we demonstrate gratitude towards the ones that gave us the gift of literacy.  
  •  Bibliotherapy truly exists, and many say that reading these kinds of books offers a cathartic experience to the reader.
  • Classic books give us a view of different cultures, different worlds, and different perspectives of history.
  • Reading books with strong ideas in them is good for your mind. You benefit even if you don’t agree with those ideas because, in that way, you discover the validity and strength of your own ideas.
  • It is a challenge, and challenges are good. You always feel amazing after finishing something difficult.
  • At last, the books that challenge us are the ones that stay with us and reading some classical literature may end up changing your whole life perspective.

Learning, teaching, and technology are constantly evolving, but classical education should advance as well. Classical education should stay the framework for students to make them critical thinkers through reading the classical literature and writing about it. Classical literature simply provides a unique worldview and has some timeless ideas about life and the world around us.