The Role of Classic Literature in Modern Education

Classic literature commonly referred to as The Classics’ include literary works originating in the Classical period of Ancient Rome and Greece. Considered by many to be the birthplace of modern civilization and advanced human thought, the literature from this time period typically include epics such as the Odyssey and the Iliad that focus on heroic and metaphorical journeys.

Today, many individuals who discuss classic literature refer to widely read books that have somehow made an impact on the world’s literary canon, serving as benchmarks for particular periods of time or events in the world’s history.

Classics are often taught in schools because of their references to the aforementioned events in world history which undoubtedly shaped the world’s current social and political systems. Reading literature from these periods of time typically allows students to gain a more well-rounded perspective on how the events of the time affected ordinary’ people.

In today’s technologically-driven, fast-paced society, it is often difficult to determine the impact that classical literature has on modern day students. Perhaps teens who text message unceasingly as a form of communication could never fathom waiting patiently for a letter, but the bottom line is, most students who dedicate themselves to analyzing these works of literature are likely to extract morals, values, themes, and motifs that are very much still “current” today.

For example, themes that explore the effects of racism, such as those investigated in Harper Lee’s Classic’ To Kill a Mocking Bird, are still very relevant today, despite the increased acceptance of individuals of all races and the clichd notion that the United States is a “melting pot” for all ethnicities.

It seems that modern school systems are still adhering to the curriculums of the past which taught classic literature, to a certain degree. Of course, it seems that there are some schools, which clearly employ a younger generation of literary minded teachers, who have begun to add some more contemporary works to their curriculum in order to help students assert a better grasp on current events.

While contemporary literature undoubtedly plays an extremely crucial role in aiding individuals to understand the effects of current events, it is essential for students to maintain a fundamental understanding of classical literature, its progression, and its subsequent effects in shaping the world throughout history.