great work of literature?

Something to think about...

I was just thinking how in high school, everyone reads the same 20 or so books throughout the year (of course it varies a little bit, but some books, like the catcher in the rye & romeo and juliet are always there) that are considered the classics. With so many books out there, why are they the "great" ones? What makes a great work of literature? What do you think?

10 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    in my opinion, it's the ambiguity of the text. a story told simply and blatantly has only one effect upon the reader; that of the author's. if the author is writing a harsh autobiography, then you see through his lens. with romeo and juliet, there are many different facets, different characters, and differents contexts one can interpret. to a romantic, the story is the ideal love tragedy. to a con artist, the story is a perfect game of death. to a dreamer, the story is an exciting joust between two rivaling families. see, it's all in the ambiguity. they're better for discussion, and everyone picks up something different that sticks with them forever.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The reason that the same few books keep turning up in school reading lists has little to do with their quality and more to do with the fact that teachers know that teenagers can and will read and understand them.

    Catcher in the Rye and Romeo and Juliette both have teenage protaganists and the readers are supposed to identify with them.

    This by the way is an American phenomemon. I've never heard of a UK school being set Catcher in the Rye and the Shakespeare play usually rotates through a few old favourites - I got Macbeth for example.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic because of its strong human interest, great characterizations, brave and bold dialogue, and the unbreakable courage of Atticus Finch.

    Grapes of Wrath is a classic for many of the same reasons, and it speaks to the particularly universal themes of wanting and working for a better life, sharing suffering, the importance of family, and the beauty and injustice of America. I read it every year.

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn has been a favorite of mine since I was about Francie's age, sitting on a high back porch under the shade of a tree, reading. Whether you're male or female, young or old, this book will touch you and make you a more caring person.

    In college, I read Ulysses, which I think is one of the greatest books written in English. Even now parts of it -- sentences or phrases or images -- float through my mind both awake and dreaming.

    I've never read Catcher in the Rye, surprisingly enough; but I've read everything Shakespeare wrote.

    What makes these books great is their endurance; they become a part of the fabric of your mind, a frame of reference for ideas, people and places as you move through your life, and are either a horrible warning or a wonderful example of the worst and best of life.

  • Sandie
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Ironicly, I didn't read either of those in high school, although I read a few other Shakespearean plays. A classic is a book that stands the test of time, and it has a social relavence that applies today as it did at the time of its writing. Take Romeo and Juliet for example... young love thwarted by feuding families. Imagine today Romeo as a Shiite and Juliet as a Sunni, or Romeo as a Pakistani in Isreal, and Juliet as an Isrealite. Almost 500 years later and their fate would probably be very similar.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Great books stand out from the others. They provide a deeper understanding of human nature, the world we live in, society, our emotions, etc... They give a person some serious food for thought. The main difference between a cultivated person and one who is simply educated is that person's ability to learn from those great books and to incorporate them into a system of thought and an art of living.

    Stephen King, J.K. Rowlings and other popular authors are very talented and extremely good at what they do. But their aim is to entertain rather than elevate the reader. Their books are not as fertile in lessons.

  • Erika
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Its reported as a canon regulation refers to the two foundation and value. In literary- intense usuage it applies a million. works that would desire to actual be ascribed to a particular author 2. a itemizing of works set aside from different literature via distinctive function of their literacy high quality and importance. The acamedics pick the curriculum and books to be examine. Shakespeare works, To kill a Mockingbird , capture 22 are in the canon.This super literature is studied at generally used college yet extremely intense college and school. Then there is paraliterature to describe artwork it is considered to be literaty in a wide sense yet non-canonical, which includes crime fiction, romantic fiction and style of poetry printed in a mass-flow magazines, and so on. Debates in regards to the canon have unavoidably, brought about the coining of countless subterms. A "canon conflict" is what happens whilst contributors of an academic branch have interaction in conflict for and against proposals to alter the syllabus in lin with what's gave the impression to be a would desire to alter(or to recognize that a transformation has taken place) in the canon.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think since this is the twenty-first century the people who think up these book lists need to get their heads out of the sand and update this list to reflect the times we are in now. I mean a hundred years ago or more the old list taught somethings that were used in college curriculum but today it is different. There are so many more books being written and read that there are a myriad number of possibilities to what a student should read. Or if they were really into the 'new' they would approve lists of books posted by the students themselves. Good Luck with this debate question.

  • 1 decade ago

    a great work of literature, in my opinion, is one that no matter who is reading it, it hits your soul and you feel like you understand the characters better then anyone else. its when a book does for you what no movie can- when your there in the pages, the words are part of you. now i cant say that all the books you are rquired to read i highschool are great pieces of literature, but what i said above, thats what makes a book amazing.

  • 1 decade ago

    Plot, imagery, characters... geez, where do you begin? This question is a bit broad for Y!A. Try buying some books on the subject, or just ask your teachers. Just don't be surprised if you get some really, really long answers.

  • lee f
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    the greats. we all should be made to read all the different religions of this world. to gain insight and to understand where we all are and why. shakespeare is one of the needed advantages, why, read hamlet, if you haven't. short stories were my favorite. so many great authors. we are so literary lucky...

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