Commentary: Old literature may be outdated

It is now time to look at more modern pieces of writing

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Commentary: Old literature may be outdated

Gazette/GBT.org staff photo

Gazette/GBT.org staff photo

Gazette/GBT.org staff photo

Justin Ha, Staff Writer

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The “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” “Of Mice and Men.” “Romeo and Juliet.” All of which are titles that Granite Bay High School students study in English classes to improve their abilities as writers – all while GBHS teachers forcefully shove this content down our throats.

I’m sure these classics were once novel concepts that fascinated children and adults alike, but as 2020 rears its head toward us, many students collectively groan at the notion of reading another pretentious, drawn-out story.

We are in the 21st century now, and I believe I can speak for almost everyone when I say that nobody wants to read another book that was written in the same time period as knights and witches.

Even in the last decade alone, our language and style of speaking has drastically changed. So imagine how much our diction has mutated from the days of “Romeo and Juliet.”

We need to detach from the stuffy notion that America needs a copy of “The Great Gatsby” in every classroom.

How could Shakespeare possibly prepare the modern student for a constantly evolving world that has no need for the thy’s and thou’s of  “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”?

For students who read Shakespeare, all the ornate vocabulary and senseless phrases make reading, much less annotating, an impossible feat.

For students who read Shakespeare, all the ornate vocabulary and senseless phrases make reading, much less annotating, an impossible feat.”

— Justin Ha

I don’t want to whip out a dictionary and spend 30 minutes rereading a page to understand the “complex” themes that only “Mobey Dick” can teach.

Teachers are making reading a tedious obstacle that only a quick trip to Sparknotes can solve.

There are plenty of books with subtle themes and descriptive imagery that aren’t boring to a teen.

We should teach about stories that young readers can understand. No matter how impressive the writing of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is, it is useless if it is uninteresting and impossible to understand.

Students want to hear about things they can actually relate to. By injecting this slow, bland content into our heads, our teachers are killing our youthful connection to literature in America.

The plot and characters of these books feel distant to our present day readers and the endless allegories and similes are boring students into submission.

There are a cornucopia of novels for us to read, analyze and annotate, but it’s time to dispel these literary seniors and bring in a fresh, new set of stories for this generation of readers to fall in love with.

So maybe before we go out and buy another book that will end up at the bottom of a drawer by summer time let’s consider cleaning the shelf and updating our catalog of American classics.

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