Well, as some may know that this summer I am reading Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. But what exactly is about the classics that makes me love them so much. I feel like part of the answer starts from how I was raised.
Well, I was raised watching A Christmas Carol every Christmas Break. So I was already exposed to at least one classic as a child. I learned to fall in love with the story early on so I think that is a big reason why I love the classics now.
But I honestly think a big reason why I love the classics might mostly have to do with Les Misérables. Yes, this list is talking about classical literature, but it is important to talk about the musical of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. Well, in December of 2012 my parents took me to the movie adaptation and little did I know that the musical was about to really change and impact my life in such a positive way. The first time I saw the movie, I had no clue how to respond. I was confused and shocked when I realized it was a tragedy, which was figured out after the first death. As a result, I did not how to respond so due to that I had no clue if I liked the movie or not.
Despite that, I still started researching information about Victor Hugo and the musical. I soon decided that I just had to see the movie a second time. That was how I realized there was something special about the tragedy. I really wanted to know why it uplifts me in such a positive way despite all of the heartbreak I just felt. So I dug even deeper into the musical. I realized that it was a story of hope, love, compassion, forgiveness, humanity, sacrifice, and redemption.
So I eventually decided that I just had to read the novel. I started with the abridged version. I enjoyed it that round, but felt like something was absolutely missing. So I told myself that I needed to read the book again, but in the unabridged version. So when I read the unabridged version summer of 2015, I did not skip over anything. The book truly felt like a masterpiece and the spirituality of the story was clearly shown. If it wasn’t for the spirituality of the story, I feel like I would be sick and tried of it by now. What was helpful in reading this book was my knowledge of the musical. Due to that, I could mark up major character and write in songs.
Due to loving Les Mis, my dad recommended me to read Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. So Les Mis led me to having the interest to read another classic. I read it and really enjoyed it. It was confusing at times because it was hard to tell if you were in France or in England. I enjoyed it, but couldn’t think of the reason why. It takes place during the French Revolution, which happens right before the events of Les Mis.
Since Les Mis led to Tale of Two Cities, it also in a way led to Great Expectation. Because I learned to love Tale of Two Cities, the second Dickens story I fell in love with, I was recommended to read Great Expectations. I loved the character of Pip in Great Expectations and never could understand why I loved him. So Les Mis was essential to my love of the classics. If it wasn’t for Les Mis, I wouldn’t have wanted to read other Dickens books. I read Great Expectations Christmas of 2016. I wanted to review it on this blog, but couldn’t figure out why I enjoyed that book. The last Dickens book I was recommend is Nicholas Nickleby.
My dad also recommend me to check out Don Quixote. Les Mis did not lead me to Don Quixote, but led me to wanting to explore other classics. For a Spanish project at school, I choose Don Quixote to research since my dad recommended it to me. The moment I saw that Don Quixote was a tragicomic character, I knew I had to read the book. I loved the story of the knight errant righting all wrongs and the relationship to his squire. Well the school project did lead me to watching Man of La Mancha, the musical based off of Don Quixote. I actually read the book Summer of 2016 and I actually found it harder to read than Les Mis even though it was much shorter. That is due to hardly knowing Don Quixote at the time.
Now I am currently reading Oliver Twist, which I started last Saturday. I currently read close to 200 pages. I am loving the book as a matter of fact. I am especially fond of the character of Oliver. Last Christmas, I was going to read what classic I got. I asked for Oliver Twist or Hunchback of Notre Dame. What book I got would be the book I would read this summer and the other one would wait until Christmas. Dickens and Hugo have incredible parallels in their storylines, which I will talk about in another upcoming post of mine. After I finish Oliver Twist if I can come up with enough reasons why I loved it, I will review it.
So in a nutshell, A Christmas Carol did in a way shape my love for the classics since it was the first one I was exposed to. But Les Mis really brought out my love for the classics. I feel like I love the classics due to how challenging they are. All of them also seem to be well written. I read the classics in between semesters because I am able to find time to read them and focus on them. I feel like I might need to read some of the classics one more time, but in a longer amount of time. Les Mis and Christmas Carol were essential to falling in love with the classics.
What are your feelings on the classics?