July Classic Club Meme Question

Monday, July 1, 2013

What classic book has changed your view on life, social mores, political views, or religion? For this month’s Classic Club question I have two answers (obviously I have a problem keeping it to just one book).

To Kill a Mockingbird: This book had a big effect on the way I view the world and on what comes to mind when you think of a hero. One of its most important lessons didn’t even make it into the famous film version. When Scout’s brother Jem destroys an elderly woman’s garden his dad makes him spend time reading to her. She (Mrs. Dubose) is addicted to morphine and is often crabby, but Atticus’ punishment is meant to teach Jem that we should show others kindness no matter how they treat us. We often have no idea what they’ve gone through in their own lives.

Obviously there are also huge lessons about racial injustice, standing up to bullies, setting an example by your actions instead of your words, etc. Boo’s character teaches us that you should never trust rumors and stories to form your opinion of a person. You can find friends anywhere if you’re willing to get to know them. It’s such a beautiful book to read, especially when read at an impressionable age.

The other book is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. This dark tale taught me that the sins we commit have a larger effect on our own souls than on the lives of others. You may think you’ve “gotten away” with something, but that guilt will haunt you. It taught me that you have to live with the decisions you make, even if their consequences aren’t immediately visible. A person’s outer appearance often doesn’t reflect their true nature.


Claudia said...

I like your answer. I remember that scene with Mrs. Dubose. She was one character that seriously creeped me out as a kid, so I guess I learned that lesson right along with Jem :)

Laura said...

Oooooh, I've never done a CC meme before but this is a goooood question (To Kill A Mockingbird totally did that for me. There are SO MANY lessons and it's really a tiny book!) But yeah, good answers! That's a really good lesson to take from Dorian Gray.

Jeanne said...

I remember how Mrs. Dubose died. We live more on the surface of peoples' lives now, rarely going into their houses, as Jem was forced to, and we certainly don't see them dying bravely at home, as she did.

The Relentless Reader said...

Fantastic books, the both of them. :)

Jason C said...

This is an interesting question to ponder...I am not sure yet.

Hmmm...I must be one of the few people who doesn't find "To Kill a Mockingbird" to be all that memorable. Granted, not a terrible novel by any means but it did nothing for me. >.<

I have been meaning to read "The Picture of Dorian Gray" for a long time.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Claudia - Me too, but it was good to understand her character better alongside Jem.

Laura - That's one of the things I love the most about TKAM. It's not a huge book, but it's got such a powerful story. It's also an easy read for most people and much less intimidated than many classics.

Jeanne - It's true. I don't even know half of my neighbors now. Back then there was a sense of community. You helped out everyone around you.

Jennifer - Indeed :)

Anonymous said...

Beautifully stated. :)

Lynn said...

I haven't read TKAM so that's something I should remedy. I have read Dorian Gray and I think this is a great example to use.
Lynn :D

The Writing Whisperer said...

I could have answered TKMB as well. I went with the most recent books that changed me. TKMB changes me in a new way each time I read it! Checkout my answer at http://thethingsyoucanread.blogspot.com/2013/07/classic-club-question-for-july-2013.html

The Things You Can Read

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Lynn - TKAM is such a wonderful book!

Cynthia - That's a great idea!

Sarah said...

I can tell TKAM is going to be a popular pick this month! SUCH a good book.

And I loved Dorian Gray... it was so creepy, and such a good message wrapped in it.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sarah - I have seen a ton of TKAM answers. It's such a good book!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sarah - I love that Adam is hosting a readalong of TKAM right now. After thinking about it so much I'm in the mood to reread it!