Throughout high school, students are asked to read classic novels for book reports and essays. Many of them are unsure of what aspects a book must possess in order to be considered a true classic. Mostly, the majority of students are reluctant about reading these classic novels because they assume the novels will be lackluster compared to modern literature. However, many of them would be pleasantly surprised after reading some of the books that are considered classic. Clare Washbrook, a member of the National Association of Teacher of English, considers a classic novel to be moral, truthful, appealing, and relevant. Analyzing these aspects will prove that Pride and Prejudice is a classic novel.
Morality is a common theme throughout many classic novels. Clare Washbrook believes that “a classic novel will usually say something of value and draw attention to human problems” (en.allexperts.com). These novels will teach a lesson within the text. Pride and Prejudice repeatedly portrays the pride and vanity that is a common human problem within literature. “A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us,” (Austen page?). The text helps to prove that if pride is put aside, happiness can be achieved. When Darcy puts his pride aside and confesses his love for Elizabeth, it sets forth a series of events that in the end bring them together. Morality is an obvious necessary component of a classic novel, but truthfulness helps connect the reader to the story being told.
Truthfulness should appear in any novel considered classic. ClareWashbrook mentions that it is important to believe what is being said. This is a significant characteristic because the reader must connect with the text. The literature must be believable otherwise a reader will not be able to understand or visualize what is occurring. The content of Pride and Prejudice is sincere because many events that occur can be related to modern day. “I love him. Indeed he has no improper pride. He is perfectly amiable,” (Austen 314). At this point in the book, Elizabeth speaks to her father about marrying Mr. Darcy. Her father was questioning her love because she once loathed him. Elizabeth removes her prior prejudice and sees the true side of Mr. Darcy. Thing of this nature occur in society quite often. The truthfulness of a novel adds to the connection a reader feels with the writing.
Lastly, a classic novel must have lasting relevance. Audiences should be able to connect with what is being said at any time period. Clare Washbrook states that “[the novel] should… display universal constants” (en.akkexperts.com). Some examples of universal constants provided by Clare Washbrook include love, fear, and death. Pride and Prejudice portrays examples of love and fear throughout he novel, which are two very familiar aspects of humans. Bingley and Jane are in love. Darcy is falling in love with Elizabeth. Darcy wants to avoid falling in love with Elizabeth because he has too much pride in himself and is fearful of what may happen if he falls in love. These events are fairly significant to the modern world.
The characteristics of classic literature may be unclear to many students, but it is certain that these novels are moral, truthful, and relevant to today’s society. Although young readers are often reluctant about reading classics, many times they end up enjoying them because they have more substance than modern literature. Though the aspects of a classic novel are debatable, there is no doubt that Pride and Prejudice is considered a timeless classic.
Washbrook, Clare. “Literature: Fahrenheit 451.” All Experts. 11 Sept. 2007.