Every great novel has infectious protagonists, despicable antagonists, compelling, gripping story lines, and superb writing conventions. However, more importantly, what make great novels timeless and irreplaceable are the profound lessons and insights that the reader takes away from those novels.
High school is a memorable, albeit challenging experience for adolescents. Conformity, social status, prejudice, arrogance, rebellion and pursuit of welcomeness are all part of the high school experience. For some, high school will seem like a haven; with annual weekend soirées and limitless interactions with friends.
While for some, high school is quite the harsh, unmerciful place; with numerous of power-exerting brutes that walk adrift, and gossips that tarnish a person’s image. Nevertheless, the literatures that are chosen to be interrogated into the high school curriculums seem to have one main aim: to enlighten the students not about the details and facts of a given novel, but to enlighten them about the novels bigger picture that will help them become a better person.
Perhaps the most significant literature that is explored in high school is Harper Lee’s, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” A masterful novel about injustice, prejudice, racism, and social inequality, Harper Lee writes a timeless novel that is reflective of the grim ordeals of the 1960’s. The lesson that is learned in this novel is universal: social precepts that degrade and diminish a race’s persona have no place in the world today.
Another important work of literature that is explored in high school is John Steinbeck’s, “Of Mice and Men.” A simple and heartfelt novella about brotherhood, camaraderie, the importance of companionship, and the impossibility of the American dream, John Steinbeck creates a novella that gives the readers a lasting impression of the world that the protagonists, Lennie and George, live in: an austere and predatory one. More importantly, the lesson that is learned in this novella is a simple one: never take the presence of friends for granted; for they give words of encouragement and sound advice.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’ s, “The Great Gatsby,” is another significant piece of literature that is explored in high school. It is a novel about a materialistic society, immoral values, and the undignified pursuit of happiness. The lesson that is learned in this novel is a vital one: materials and financial fortune only render temporary happiness, and true, everlasting happiness roots in being loved and to love.
Furthermore, William Golding’s, “Lord of the Flies,” is another important book that is explored in high school. A novel that is about a group of civilized, morally equipped boys that turned into savage, barbaric animals. William Golding illustrates how destructive the human desire is for superiority and supremacy. And the lesson that is learned in novel involves a timeless human truth: evil might be relentless, but the good always prevails.
The body of literature that is explored in high school will indeed give students and readers a better understanding of the world today. Every novel has themes that are reflective of our society and culture. This is why the bond between literature and man is so profound: it binds them due to their similar circumstances.