Entice Students to Read Rather than Dictate What Students Must Read

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What makes a piece of literature a classic? This is an extremely difficult and biased question to answer. One school of thought incorporates steadfast rules to qualify for the honor of being a classic, whereas another group of scholars may not be as strict in giving a literary work the title of a classic. The job of giving a novel the coveted brand of 'classic' is an important task and should not be viewed frivolously. Remarkably, a surprising few recommend what the masses should read in order to be viewed as 'well-read' in society. The Great Gatsby is a classic that is required reading in almost every high school in America. What accolades does this novel have to render it such merit? Without a doubt, The Great Gatsby is a novel worth reading. As noted in the assignment description, some students have read this book several times in their high school and college careers. The attraction to teach this book reflects more than the incredible literary work of Fitzgerald. Most high school curriculums allow for a little variety in selecting what literature should be taught and at what level. Obviously several high schools across the country have chosen this book over others. This book could be read in 2 or 3 sittings, which is appealing to a high school teacher required to teach this novel. The length also coincides with Bloom's comment about current students' short attention spans. Apart from dated terminology, the text is easy to read and the story has enough mystery and twists that it should hold a reader's interest. Another important criteria for a literary work to be chosen as part of a curriculum is whether or not there is an appropriate movie version of the novel. This may seem unrelated with the other attributes, but an acceptable movie version of the novel is a deciding feature when choosing a classroom novel. Many teachers require their students to write down the differences between the movie and novel and discuss why the changes were made in the movie adaptation. These attributes may not be mentioned when deciding if a novel is a classic, but they need to be noted if we are going to require reading classics at the high school level. Since the people who will teach the classics use a different criteria for selecting such a novel should there be levels or, at least, different categories for a classic?

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