Classics to Read Once in Your Lifetime
At first glance, we disregard them. Their covers seem too monochrome, their language too outdated and we assume there’s hardly anything we can relate to them. We sometimes wonder how can they be ‘worthwhile’ read. But there’s a reason why classics conti
At first glance, we disregard them. Their covers seem too monochrome, their language too outdated and we assume there’s hardly anything we can relate to them. We sometimes wonder how can they be ‘worthwhile’ read.
But there’s a reason why classics continue to be read throughout the generations. You would never call them ‘old’ and ‘outdated,’ if you understood the full meaning and significance of these masterpieces. One doesn’t need to be a literature student to understand classics, nor does one need to meticulously dig through the complex plots and characters. The message is as clear as day: regardless of how old they are, it’s true that ‘age makes you wiser.’
As our world starts getting complex day by day, perhaps these classics will remind us about people, relationships, childhood, love, pain, and rejection, in often silent yet surreal ways. Read them to understand what the fuss is all about, but read them all the more to have your perception changed irrevocably for the better.
To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A novel set in the American South, it explores the perils of racism while people continue to struggle with humanity, innocence, compassion, and love. Through the character of an honest lawyer Atticus Finch, who decides to defend a black man falsely convicted of raping a white woman, the book makes you question a lot of things.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Set in the dystopian land called ‘Gilliad,’ the book is narrated by a handmaid named Offred who as a part of the society has only one role to perform: act as a concubine for commanders. She isn’t allowed to read, question or let alone live her life. But even dictatorships can’t take everything away, she repeats in numerous parts of the book. It’s a cautionary tale, and questions the kind of ‘modern’ world we are slowly progressing towards.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
It’s a tale of one man who achieves everything yet has nothing in the end. Inspired by the writer’s own fateful dream of making it big in the land of opportunity, the book is steeped in the themes of the American Dream. Is ambition really everything at all? And why don’t we realize it for all the trouble it is? You have to read the book to find out.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
In spite of being a bulky read, the fountainhead has one of the most captivating plots. Howard Roark, a level-headed architect who refuses to let his artistic identity be defined by conventions, is challenged by Gail Wynand, the man who marries the woman he loves. Although considered to be provocative by many, it presents the most challenging idea in fiction, that a man’s ego is the fountainhead of all human progress.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A gothic story that stood apart from its Victorian counterparts, Jane Eyre stands out due to its progressive heroine. Orphaned and mistreated all her life, she refuses to be a damsel in distress. The novel encapsulates all the compelling themes of mystery, romance, and sass a good Victorian novel you must read.
Lolita by Vladamir Nobokov
Considered to be ‘outrageous’ by critics for its pedophile protagonist Humbert Humbert who falls madly in love with his landlady’s twelve-year-old daughter, there’s more to Lolita than meets the eye. What’s wrong and what’s right? The book remains a masterpiece due to its compelling portrayal of how our actions can have irrevocable consequences.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger
Don’t let Salinger’s effortless prose convince you, that it’s nothing more than an irreverent read. Stepped in teenage nihilism, the narrator is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. The book reveals new thing every time you read it- the loss of innocence, defying conventions and dealing with the world's hypocrisy.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
Shelly was just 18 when she wrote Frankenstein as part of a challenge with her future husband and literary genius Percy Shelly. Frankenstein’s monster is the classic horror element, yet yearns for love and companionship. The book questions the limitations of science as it encroaches the boundaries of nature year by year. The book, often deemed ‘too passionate’ for a woman to write, yet perhaps, for this very reason, remains a true classic.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical account of her slow descent into depression gives the title of the book, which she describes as being under a bell-jar, suffocating and being incapable of reaching out to others from inside the glass. The poignant yet beautiful description of the character Esther’s life is a winning character. This female-driven classic is one of a kind.