5 life lessons you can learn from classical literature books
When you’re assigned one classic after another in school, you might start to wonder why it’s so important that you read these books. What knowledge do these books impart that made them such an essential reading? After all, most of the characters in these novels lived a hundred or two hundred years ago, in different worlds of life than we live in today.
Part of what makes a book a classic is that the lessons it teaches are timeless. Yes, Jane Austen’s novels can be set in Georgian England, while F. Scott Fitzgerald’s characters dance Charleston through the excesses of the Jazz Age. But a modern reader can learn as much about the life of books of classical literature as those who read the books when they first came out.
Here are some life lessons you can learn from the classics, as well as places where you can read the books for free online.
Don’t judge a book by its cover
In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen has created a wonderful protagonist in Elizabeth Bennet. She is extremely bright and also very kind and caring, especially when it comes to her beloved older sister, Jane. She is quick-witted and intellectually manages among men, a rare find in the literature of this period.
But Elizabeth is not without flaws. She is terribly critical, artfully evaluating everything she sees. She makes several instant judgments about Mr. Darcy based on her own prejudices and prejudices. It wasn’t until later that she realized how wrong she was about him and ended up falling in love with him.
If only Elizabeth had been a little less critical of Mr. Darcy from the start, then the two might have had more time to enjoy their life together. This novel teaches readers to give people a chance and to remember that first impressions aren’t always good.
Where to read Pride and Prejudice free online: Internet Archive, Google Books, Project Gutenberg, American Literature, Full Text Archive, PublicBookshelf, Read Print, Planet eBook, The Literature Network, Literature Project, ReadCentral, Manybooks, Standard eBooks, JaneAusten.org
It’s never too late to grow up
Ebenezer Scrooge, the protagonist of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, is a bitter old man who has completely isolated himself from others. He only cares about his wealth and never spares a thought for others. It’s only when the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future visit Scrooge on Christmas Eve that he realizes how much his actions have hurt others.
Scrooge wakes up a changed man on Christmas morning. He donates money to charity, spends time with his family, and gives his poor employee a raise. Subsequently, he leads a life of generosity and compassion. This classic novel shows that no matter how old you are, you will always be able to change for the better.
Where to read A Christmas Carol free online: Internet Archive, Library of Congress, Google Books, Project Gutenberg, American Literature, Full Text Archive, PublicBookshelf, Read Print, Planet eBook, Page By Page Books, The Literature Network, Literature Project, ReadCentral, Manybooks, Standard eBooks
Let love in
Considering that love is one of the greatest things, otherwise the the greatest thing – in life it is no surprise that so many classic novels focus on this. In Little woman by Louisa May Alcott, Jo spends much of the novel obsessed with becoming a writer. While this is certainly a noble goal, especially for a 19th-century woman, Jo refuses to entertain the idea of ââfalling in love.
It wasn’t until she left the house that she fell in love with Professor Bhaer. And in a funny way, it’s once with him that she manages to break out of her overly melodramatic stories and write something real. Reading this novel, a reader will learn that one should not shy away from love, and that it can actually bring him closer to his dreams rather than pushing him away.
Anne of the Green Gables by LM Montgomery also teaches this lesson. Anne spends her youth so focused on excellence in school that she cannot see Gilbert Blythe as anything other than an academic rival. Over time, she begins to admit her true feelings for him, and it gets better.
Where to read Little woman free online: Internet Archive, Google Books, Project Gutenberg, American Literature, Full Text Archive, The Literature Network, Literature Project, ReadCentral, Manybooks, Standard eBooks
Where to read Anne of the Green Gables free online: Internet Archive, Library of Congress, Google Books, Project Gutenberg, American Literature, PublicBookshelf, Books page by page, The Literature Network, ReadCentral, Manybooks, Standard eBooks
Money can not buy happiness
In Gatsby the magnificent by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nick Carraway lives next door to Jay Gatsby, a man who throws big parties at his house. Once Nick attends one of these parties, he sees evidence of opulence and wealth at every turn. Nick gets to know Gatsby and learns that all of Gatsby’s fortune was acquired in an attempt to impress Daisy, Nick’s cousin and Gatsby’s former flame.
Gatsby’s stubborn obsession with acquiring material wealth left him no time for his friends. Sure, a lot of people will stop by his parties, but none of them show the slightest interest in having a real relationship with him – as Nick hears from the other gossip, no one really knows anything about this man. And when it comes time to plan Gatsby’s funeral, Nick is left in charge because no one else cares.
All along Gatsby the magnificent, we meet several wealthy characters – Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Jordan – and yet none of them are particularly happy. This story teaches readers that the real thing of all value in life is the depth and strength of our relationships with others. This is a lesson that can be learned from A Christmas Carol also.
Where to read Gatsby the magnificent free online: Internet Archive, Google Books, Project Gutenberg, American Literature, Read Print, Planet eBook, Standard eBook
Be honest with yourself
As Jane Austen did with Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Emily BrontÃ« created a strong and masterful female protagonist in Jane Eyre who was many years ahead of her time. The book begins with her punishment for not smiling and prancing like children are supposed to, but little Jane refuses to fake her emotions.
Throughout the novel, Jane faces various trials, but nothing will stop her from pursuing what she wants. When she leaves Mr. Rochester, she tells him: âI am not a bird; and no net traps me: I am a free human being with an independent will â. Young readers will aspire to be themselves shamelessly like Jane.
Another place to find this lesson is Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Throughout the play, Hamlet must strive to trust his own beliefs, even though almost everyone is against him. The play also contains one of the most famous lines about being true to yourself in all of literature: âTo your own self be true. “
Where to read Jane eyre free online: Internet Archive, Google Books, Project Gutenberg, American Literature, Full Text Archive, PublicBookshelf, Read Print, Planet eBook, The Literature Network, ReadCentral, Manybooks, Standard eBooks
Where to read Hamlet free online: Internet Archive, Google Books, Project Gutenberg, American Literature, The Literature Network, ReadCentral, Manybooks, Standard eBooks, Shakespeare.MIT.edu, Shakespeare.Foldger.edu, OpenSourceShakespeare
Authors biography: Jillian Karger was born in Ohio but has lived in and around New York City for over a decade. Since graduating from New York University in 2009, Jill has had a long series of jobs, including researching books to adapt for a movie and researching Q&A for “Who Wants to Win?” millions â.
She has also written as a freelance writer for sites like Cracked.com and has featured her jokes on Twitter on BuzzFeed and funnyordie.com. Jill has also self-published two novels on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Jillian-Karger/e/B07B894DNW).
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