Classics have this element of solitude in them that becomes a recurrent theme which shapes the lives of people in ways perhaps unfamiliar to people of our current era. And they are especially relatable for people who have spent a major part of their lives in solitude. This theme is beautifully and heart wrenchingly described by Brontë in Jane Eyre. It is one of those books which have always held a special place in my heart.
Most people find Silas Marner an incredibly dry book. More so because it speaks of the industrialization of a people unbeknownst to us. But sometimes brilliance can be dry, I suppose. One of its initial aspects carry forward the idea of a benumbing unbelief, that could not be restored by any words to shake Silas’ emotions to a sense of pain. This benumbing unbelief is still amongst us; some toil hard to keep it away and some already carry it within themselves. George Eliot remarkably pens down human psychology and man’s struggle with beliefs and society with such intricacy, even though women writers were shunned and questioned in the 1800s. Her writings are a source of pride for female writers throughout the centuries.
If we seek a much more emotionally stimulating book from amongst the Victorian era classics, Wuthering Heights has had massive recognition in both earlier and modern eras. The depth of description and the vigour with which Charlotte Brontë has described the events that take place in this book is truly remarkable. Elements of joy and madness, of misery and despair are aptly elaborated on, leaving the reader shaken.
Whilst looking at authors which have had a tremendous impact on English Literature over the centuries, it would be a crime not to mention William Shakespeare’s Hamlet or The Merchant Of Venice. The use of wit in the latter play is undeniably unparalleled and Shakespeare has brought to light a plethora of subjects that were previously undiscovered by writers appealing to a large audience. A comparative analysis of the types of love presented in the play alone would leave a person dumbfounded as platonic love, requited and unrequited love, materialistic as well as the love with madness are all shown effortlessly by the playwright so well celebrated over the world. The Merchant of Venice has much better depictions of the different kinds of love as compared to Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth. Shakespeare’s plays have always had strong female characters which go against the stereotypes perpetuated in that era where women did not even have the right to vote.
If we look at modern era classics, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a masterpiece which deserves the praise it has gotten over the past century. It is a must read for everyone who has delved into the world of classic literature and brings the personal and political together in this story about racial prejudice and injustice. The Help is another brilliant book that speaks about racial prejudice and black slavery in the Americas in the 18-1900s.