Why the classics are underrated

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Why the classics are underrated

A bookshelf in the SHS library.

A bookshelf in the SHS library.

Olivia Plymel

A bookshelf in the SHS library.

Olivia Plymel

Olivia Plymel

A bookshelf in the SHS library.

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Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them”; finally, I breathe. I have finished “Pride and Prejudice”: my first classic novel.

Being a self-proclaimed “bookaholic”, I have read almost every genre under the sun. Until recently, however, I have stayed away from the classics because they have a stigma for being old, outdated, and “too hard to read”. I finally caved and read “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen last year, and I can say with certainty that I have fallen in love with “old timey” books.

Though it was a struggle at first to get through the book, the payoff was forever worth it because I am now able read old books and enjoy them like people from the time period would have. I get to steal a few looks into a time in which I would otherwise be a stranger to. Books provide a window into entirely different worlds.

This new-found ability to read old prose opened up a world of new stories for me, and I started to devour all of the books that I previously didn’t even consider to be an option. I have been a wildfire, consuming stories that have had a more profound effect on me than most modern books have.

The shock that I first felt when I got through twenty pages of “Mansfield Park” and did not have to reread any of the pages was so acute that it made me stop in my tracks. I could not believe that I got to meet these brilliant characters and experience their world, and I was loving it.

These books may have a different style and use different words than we are used to, but the stories are still the same: love and tragedy and everything that comes with life.

A woman speaking her mind and being heard was not acceptable back when these books were written. Most social customs have changed since the 1800’s, and many for the better, but the base morals of love, kindness, and the want of a happy ending, are still the same. It’s inspiring to see female characters overcome the obstacles they faced back then.

As I make my way through the classics, I see all of the “universal truths” that still come up in books set in modern times, and it made me realize that just because a book or a story is really old, that doesn’t mean that it is irrelevant.

There are some books from this time period that, in my opinion, aren’t good, but that holds true today as well. If you want to begin reading old books, start with something that is in a genre that you know that you like, such as “Pride and Prejudice” if you like romantic books with strong female characters, or “Wuthering Heights” if you like mysteries that have a creepy atmosphere and an interesting love story. There is a book, or several, out there for every person to love.

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