What the H*** is the point in classic literature????

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by AP_piano295, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    So im a h,school sophmore in cville VA and hard ass english teacher just had us read the Thebian Trilody (Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Atigone) Allow me to give you a brief overview of these three short books dude kills his dad screws his mom has four kids with her finds out that he killed his pops and slept with his muther and proceeds to gouge out his own eyes yaaay. Oedipus at Colonus Oedipus dies (this was 50 pages long) Atigone... Antigone searches for the chopped up bits of her brother in order to bury them... hungry yet? Everybody dies the end.

    So anybody want to tell me whhhhy do I read these stupid stupid stupid books and more importantly why are they considered great literature???

    Anybody wanna help me write a two page essay on who is the tragic hero in Antigone your choices Antigone or Creon? :)
  2. CubaTBird macrumors 68020

    Apr 18, 2004
  3. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    < has a degree in English....

    there are many reasons why Classic Lit is important, too many to name in fact.

    but to start, all literature is a product of the times in which it was written, thus giving the reader a glimpse into the life, times, and values of the culture at the time. the reason that certain books are considered to be "Classics" while others are not stems from the fact that the good books create and come to a higher complexity of form, of life, and of the way in which the world works, thus they are able to transcend the usual stuff and come to a rather humane worldview and offer windows into our own lives today still, centuries later.

    the reasons for reading the 'classics' are many, they can offer a greater understanding of the world then, AND now, and offer a greater perspective on yourself in the process too.

    alright i'll stop ranting for now.
  4. debroglie macrumors 6502a


    Aug 19, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    These stories give you a glimpse into their ancient culture. They also amazingly help you learn about yourself, both in terms of your western cultural heritage, your "personal" identity, and your motives.

    For your paper, remember that a hero to the greeks was vastly different from what a hero is to the modern reader.
  5. thedude110 macrumors 68020


    Jun 13, 2005
    Here's the theory, Piano. In order to participate in a democracy, you need to be able to read, write and think. The point of an English class is to make you a better reader (of the text and of the world), a better writer, and most importantly, a better thinker. You need to be able to summarize, criticize and think about the world around you. One way to teach those skills is to teach "literature."

    If your English teacher is anything like me, s/he didn't WANT to teach you Oedipus or Antigone. Some bigwig on the school board said "Oedipus! Teach 'em Oedipus!" and your teacher had to forsake his/her interests and cram this down your throat.

    Believe me. Your English teacher would rather be teaching you how to think by showing you episodes of The OC. But that wouldn't really help you prepare for college, and it probably wouldn't help you answer the most human of all questions, either -- "What does it mean to be?"

    Yeah. Your English teacher wants to teach you how to answer that question, too.
  6. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Because it's good for you. Literature drags us above our savage primal instincts and makes us better people.

    And the following are not swear words:
  7. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    actually there is no such thing as a 'swear word' as it just s social construction applied to certain words that were originolly part of the lower class that we have not been able to come to terms with and thus try to convince ourselves that they are worng and base when they are just another word for something in ordinary life. if people would just learn that there are no such words life would be much easier and comunication would improve as well. but we are a culture that tries to be 'better' and this is one way to precieve oneself as being better than john doe down the street.
  8. goodtimes5 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2004
    Bay Area
    It's not like those books were hard to read. The plot kept me interested long enough to finish the books.

    By the way, I would go with Creon. He falls from power or some sort, if I remmeber correctly.
  9. superbovine macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2003
    Because western thought and culture is built from the Greeks on and those books are part the Canon of Western literature. In other words a lot of western culture derives from these "classic books" and other books like the bible and paradise lost. In other words, to under these books is to understand western culture today. Practically though, if you read these classic books it going to help read other books because a lot authors reference that stuff.

    For example, If you ever read Goethe's Faust, he references the bible, helen of troy, paradise lost, etc. The play though can be interrupted as commentary of the objectification of young women during that time, penance, and forgiveness.

    Later when the Nazi took power in Germany, Universities professor in Germany put out papers on how Goethe was really talking about being "Nazi" or part the third riche. If you had only read Faust before and didn't understand the rest of the background how would they were wrong?
  10. prostuff1 macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2005
    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    HA!!! I wish my papers only had to be two pages long!!

    given i am in college but... I turn in Annotated Bibliographies longer then that.

    As for the paper, google is your friend. Just do a search and read up. I am to lazy to try to remember the details of the story so i cant help you decide which is the better choice.

    2 pages, i remember those days (and that was not very long ago). As for english classes in general... i cant stand them, but i am more of a math and science person. I tyr to stay as far away from english as possible. H*** i still send my papers to my sister, who is a junior in HS, to read over and edit. great thing having a sis who enjoys doing that kinda stuff.
  11. kwajo.com macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2002
    Bay of Fundy
    reading is just another form of social interaction. you probably aren't inclined to ask "what's the point of talking to other people?" and yet you question reading. yes they were written a long time ago, but that doesn't mean we have nothing to gain from reading them. even if you don't see a "point" now, you will. I have read a few things I doubted, but they always come back to you, even if you never share it with anyone, the experience you gain from reading of the lives and experiences of others goes into that vast depository of your brain and can help you make future decisions, and not always in conscious ways. trust me, gathering knowledge is the most personal and rewarding things a human can do, so enjoy it and embrace it.

    plus, these stories are so crazy, they can be very fun and entertaining to read just for the enjoyment of good storytelling
  12. topicolo macrumors 68000


    Jun 4, 2002
    Ottawa, ON
    I have just the essay for you, dude. It was written by a guy who got high before writing this paper.

    Attached Files:

  13. topicolo macrumors 68000


    Jun 4, 2002
    Ottawa, ON
    The rest of it.

    Attached Files:

  14. katie ta achoo macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005

    I may have to turn in this paper to see what happens... :)

    //I'll have my REAL, backup paper ready, though
    ///good girl
  15. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    <- Also has a degree in English. Where'd you go to school, Dis?

    You pretty much said what I was thinking, except that I would add that classics are very good at making you think about things, issues, whatever. Case in point, the OP's assignment of Antigone explores the question of whether loyalty to the state outweighs other loyalties (in this case family), especially when the state is being grossly unjust. Personally, I wouldn't recommend Greek tragedy, having been snookered into an entire course on the subject given by a horrid professor, but that's neither here nor there. The bottom line is that literature makes you think, and that's why it's good for you.
  16. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    Actually I do have one I wrote as an undergrad on that very topic. No copying or anything, but I wouldn't mind pointing you in the right direction.
  17. cooknwitha macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2005
    <= English degree here too.

    I have to say, I love Classic Literature. In fact, I did a minor in it. Hilarious stuff. Incest, cannibalism, sodomy, murder, infidelity - it has it all.

    In addition to that, the stories are still fresh which is why they are recycled time and time again. Shakespeare ripped a lot off from the classics and many stories these days at their very core are variations of the classics.

    Ovid's The Art of Love is a pisser. So is anything to do with the House of Atreus. Brilliant stuff!
  18. Deepdale macrumors 68000


    May 4, 2005
    New York
    The timeless themes never die.
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I still laugh when I read that. :p

    I still can't understand how this kid got a 61% for such a poor paper, but then again, he IS American.....
  20. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    OT: How the hell did that paper claim 61%, I'd have zero'd it and taken after the student with a baseball bat for wasting my time....:D

    (Pity my students....)

    I can't remember who said it, but "any society that forgets it's history is destined to repeat the mistakes of the past"

    So, don't kill your dad, shag your mom and rip your own eyes out, mmm'K?
  21. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    61% for that piece of crap!!

    Do you know how hard you have to work here to get 61% in an essay? That's ridiculous!!

    I don't think the student was the one who was high, I think the teacher was completely trolleyed to even consider giving that one mark, let alone 61%. I simply cannot believe it.

    I once wrote an essay for one of my commerce subjects that I was doing just to maintain my government money and in the essay I quoted David Bowie, Stevie Wonder and at the end drew a picture of Porky Pig bursting out of the page and saying "that's all folks!" I guess if I were in America I would've got a nice fat 61% pass instead of the zero it actually received.

    *shakes head*

    Just ridiculous.
  22. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040


    Apr 21, 2003
    washington dc
    the point of classical literature is to meet girls. you're all missing the point.

    attractive girls in my engineering classes (major):0
    attractive girls in my english classes (minor):lots

    ;) :D
  23. iSaint macrumors 603


    May 26, 2004
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    I give credit to the teacher for actually scoring the paper, instead of putting a zero on it and handing it back to the f*in stoner.
  24. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040


    Sep 13, 2003
    Its not so much where you are as when you are.

    I probably would have given it a 5 or 10. There were a couple of facts in there. There were parts that were surprisingly articulate.

    Classic literature is part of the culture that unifies us. Its like that episode of Star Trek:TNG with "Darmok and Jilad at Tenagra" I say oedipus complex and you can guess what I mean without having studied psychology.

    The odd thing was that I was thinking that the story of Oedipus could be remade as a modern story. Image a mobster type with a young underage girlfriend. She gets knocked up. Premonition of some sort of the future tragedy and the kid is given up for adoption at birth as opposed to aborted as the father intended. 15 years down the road the kid is attending a prep school gets harassed by racist bullies accusing him of being a gangster, saying he's nothing but a thug and will likely end up killing his parents. Kid runs away and turns to the thug life and winds up killing his actual father and taking over his clutch of ladies, including his mom.
  25. Apple macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Im gonna save that paper and show it to my teacher next time I get a bad grade.

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