Classic literature books are the mirror of the soul, the places, the architect, society, artists, poets, and writers that existed in the past centuries – it represents their times, thoughts, and everything about the earlier literary ages. But, in this article, we are going to read about why more contemporary books and fewer classics should be assigned by teachers. Now, a lot of you might not agree with this so far, because as a book or literature lover you are bound to be obsessed and passionate about classic literature. I mean, if you ask me I would choose Shakespeare or Woolf any day over any contemporary writer. So, then why we must focus on the contemporary?
If a teacher assigns a classic literary fiction to the students, the only thing the student is capable of is listening to the information the teachers have to offer and create a certain perception of the writer, the era, the genre, the character’s personality, and thought process based on that discussion. But if it is contemporary fiction, not only they will get a new perspective about the characters that they have not thought of due to the lack of experience. But then can also add points to that class and have a certain discussion and even debate being a student of the contemporary century. It is easier to relate to the characters of contemporary books because the actions and dialogues would not be surprising. But reading a classic say, on transformation from traditionalism to modernization or post-colonial literature would not make a lot of sense to the student.
The classics books are classics for several reasons – they have maintained the themes of the times that teachers would not usually like their students to go through, such as themes of misogyny, racism, homophobia, or transphobia. The discussion is not about excluding classic literature or books that might make the students feel uncomfortable. Literature is often uncomfortable because it talks about reality, and every student should feel a little bit uncomfortable while reading books which just represents that they are reading reality. But, there is a fine line between reading reality and reading something that might affect the students mentally and in a bad way. Just like there is a difference between classics such as Beloved, which presents the discomfort and horrors of slavery and its aftermath because that is natural, and reading something like Gone with the Wind, where the existence of happy slaves is not presented as an oxymoron but something that is perfectly possible.
A lot of students would say that classic is hard to read because of the vocabulary or the choice of archaic language, which is true and it does affect the comprehending part. Because it perplexes a student’s mind as to which one they should focus on, about translating the archaic language to present use of language, understanding the hard vocabulary, or the theme, plot, and character. The fact is not that the student will understand anything if they study classics. As all the philosophers and writers suggest it is important to know the past and then live with the present to have a better awareness of the self. But the point is about understanding the fiction. More contemporary books will make the study fun and easy, and fewer classics will help them to know about classic writers, their themes, and be less scared about understanding a lot and failure.