Is classic literature gone with the wind?
You walk in the CHS library in search of a new and fascinating read. Through the stacks, you wander into the classics section, but none of those old stories intrigue you. You keep moving on and pick up Rick Riordan’s newest fiction, the one that your friend recommended. All throughout the library, there are students holding books of the genre young adult fiction, but not nearly as many with classics. Teens prefer to choose young adult fiction over classic tales, which leads us to ask: Are classics too outdated for teens to enjoy? Are we much more accustomed to young adult fiction? Why do students pick up the latest thriller over something like Gone with the Wind?
It is likely because teens prefer something that relates to their lives. The classics that generations before us enjoyed in their free time are now too outdated for the current generation. In an age of technology, teens are now captivated by their iPhones, computers, and these iPads that District 211 so conveniently provides us with. With the advancing technology, going outside to play or having a tea party like Scout did in To Kill a Mockingbird just isn’t understandable to today’s teens. Rather, Rick Riordan’s newest science fiction tale or the latest Sarah Dessen love story is much more intriguing to our generation. Technology is now so advanced that science fiction challenges what is already a reality to us. With the classics being so outdated, students simply are uninterested in these tales.
Furthermore, most girls, with some exceptions, enjoy realistic fiction as a genre. However, the love stories of Shakespeare aren’t exactly similar to the high school “love” story that teens today spend their time reading. Monica Fumarolo, the assistant librarian at Conant who helps students choose books, says that “most teens would gravitate towards genres that they can relate to.”
She says that from her experience some students want to read about dystopia, others about contemporary realistic fiction topics, while other kids enjoy historical fiction. She says that teens who want to challenge themselves do still check out classic texts, but not as frequently as others who check out young adult fiction.
I believe that teens read whatever is current. But whether it’s classics or young adult fiction, the important part is that students are making the choice to read. With all the social media we have today, I’m just glad that CHS students pick up a book and read, no matter what genre!