Friday, April 4, 2014

The Magic of Classics!

There must be a reason why classics are called classics. There's this whole aura around them that makes you feel so different, and not just because they belong to a specific period in time. There was dystopia back then too, futuristic stuff, incredible science fiction and best of all, incomparable fantasy. What is it that makes us go back to classics for that 'complete and unabridged' feeling of satisfaction? How are classics so appealing? In this online course (MOOC) called The Future of Storytelling, they mentioned the way literature transformed; how earlier it was "more group and culture based" and now it is "more introverted and individualistic". 
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Stories were more about a place as a setting and then about the characters who form an integral part of the story. Important characters were barely just one. There were complete, imaginative worlds where fantasy came in. Humans interacted with other living forms by talking and hanging out with them without feeling weirded out. If you got to take advice from a caterpillar, you simply did. You did not make faces or feel strange or think it's unnatural. If you wanted to fly to Neverland and meet naughty pixie fairies, you simply needed to believe that you could fly. You didn't wait for a superhero or logic to come into the picture. I love that optimism, that simple, unbiased acceptance of the world for what it is. I love the lack of criticism and analysis. It makes me as a reader feel how vast and believable everything is, how it is simple and possible if you just believe in it. It's not always how it happens in real life but you're far better off if you hold on to these beliefs you inculcate while reading, one major reason being that you're always optimistic!

Let's consider some examples. Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie) is an imaginative story beginning with the simple idea of a boy who doesn't want to grow up, which is pretty much a normal feeling in kids. When you read the story, however, you're so drawn into that boy's adventures, his feelings and thoughts and behaviour, his interactions, other characters who're associated with him and a whole new world of Neverland where you meet pixies and pirates. When you read The Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum), you see a normal girl in Dorothy who falls into an adventurous situation and there're scarecrows and talking animals and witches and castles.  

I remember being absolutely petrified and hooked to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (R.L. Stevenson) when I first read it, just because it was so different (and scary) from anything I had ever read. It was a piece of wonder and I was nothing short of amazed. It's such a deep story, coming out of the concept of man having two sides: the good and the evil. A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) was just as creative and although slightly dark, it's beautiful in the way it's told. There are many other examples, including Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift), Frankenstein (Mary Shelley), The Invisible Man and The Time Machine (H.G. Wells) that make you feel so warm and nice and 'classic' when you read them! 

Have an open and accepting mind, and you'll love all these stories. I watched Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) yesterday when its second movie adaptation was running on HBO. I haven't read the book as yet but I do like the story. It's so full of characters, yet you don't feel lost. It's a small, unique world. It shows the protagonist of the story as a strong, dreamy and imaginative girl who likes to do as she likes and has the ability to stand up for her own. Apart from what she does in Wonderland, it's quite cool the way she behaves when she's at the family gathering with her family and relatives, the way she signs up for a business deal instead of allowing her mother to marry her to a lord. This book came out in 1865. Awesome, much? :)

It's not just about the magical, it's about the stories based on societies and human-people too. They're all incredibly detailed and imaginative. I'm not denying the unique essence of modern literature, new genres and quick reads, but classics such as these have their own sense of time. You always feel different with such books. If you haven't read these, I'd suggest you should! A personal recommendation would be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and although I read it in school, an abridged version most probably, I'd still think it's worth a read.

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“With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two.” 

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What do you think? Do you like these books as much? 

PS- How about the blog's new look? ;)


4 comments:

  1. Hey, though I haven't read much of them, but for some unknown reasons, I LOVE classics. Even if the book's left untouched for months...I love the covers :D Just holding them in hand makes me content.
    And I know that sounds insane..I mean I should read them more often if it's love of such a kind. But may be, I was waiting for this post ;)

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    1. Hey Srishti! You wouldn't believe, but it's almost the same with me! I collect them and I've read less than half till now. These are the kind that you feel like reading when you have the sense of a lot of relaxed time, which is hard to get these days :P

      I'll send you a picture of how I keep them! :D
      Thanks so much for your sweet comment! :)

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  2. Hey, first of all, what a wonderful header. Is it you in those pictures? *_* I must say they were very well taken, not to mention the model of course ;) And the whole look of the header, complete with the book pictures and repunzel ;) looks really good :D (how'd you make the name picture by the way, it is a really nice design)

    Coming to the post, I had this nodding head reaction to the whole post while I was reading. I also believe that the books(classics) have this, sort of, complete and rich feel to it. You get to know a lot about many characters of the book. You get to experience the 'whole' of the character map, which makes it interesting and deep at the same time. Somehow, and I think it is prevalent more with the first person narrative, that you don't get that kind of interaction in the latter ones.

    The stories are of course, different and creative, immensely creative, if you look at the time they were written. It is nothing but magical, the feel, in a lot of them ^_^

    Awesome that you wrote this post, I'll be taking your advice and reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde soon ;)

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    1. Heyo! Thanks for appreciating the new look! *_* Yes that's me in those pictures :) And I love Rapunzel so she had to be there :P As for the name-design, that was just a light-pink banner's picture available and I placed it in the center, on top of the lighter base. Simple :)

      About the first person narrative thing, that's an interesting observation! I'm glad you agree. :D Also, knowing you, I'm sure you'd like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! Happy reading and thanks for the lovely comment :)

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