Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Classic Problem...

I know kids don't like the classics- Romeo and Juliet, Silas Marner, A Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Crucible, etc.

Tough- they need to be taught. I'm dismayed that my son's summer reading packet required only one book and a modern one at that. I believe kids need to be exposed to many classics, so why not have 2 lists; one classic, one modern, and choose a title from both lists?

They won't like it.

Truthfully, I didn't when I was a high school freshman/sophmore/junior/senior. But I didn't like geometry either and I still had to take that. Over the years I've used literary knowledge much more than geometry...

Sometimes what we don't like is best for us. (How many kids liked asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts when they were young? Yeah, maybe 2.)

Classics and modern literature are forever linked. I've read many YA and adult books that refer to classics. If kids aren't exposed to Shakespeare and Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte, they'll have to ask someone, who is this person? why is he/she famous?  before they can understand the context in the modern novel.

I was watching Psycho with Anthony Perkins, the old black and white version (the best). My youngest sat down to watch with me and says, "That's not scary!" Because he's grown up in a time when excessive gore is readily laid out by the media for his eyes, he's not completely 'invested' in the story with his brain. Previous generations saw Pyscho and were afraid to take a shower without locking the door. We were pulled into the story because we had to imagine the knife slicing into that poor girl, the blood circling the drain confirmation of our worst fear. Our minds were much more visceral than showing tons of fake blood and bad makeup jobs.

There is value from classics- whether it's a book, a movie, a muscle car, a tuxedo, a song. Let's not throw out the old in favor of the trendy because today's trendy is tomorrow's classic.


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