Reading “Harry Potter” helps college students with the classics of literature
Colleges and University professors from all over have begun teaching the literature of J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter series in the classroom. And for those who grew up reading the seven book series, professors are finding that students are able to better understand and appreciate the classic literature of Charles Dickens, according to a Washington and Lee University English professor.
Suzanne Keen has struggled in the past to educate college students on classical pieces by Charles Dickens, whose 200th birthday is on February 7, and with the exception of the infamous tale A Christmas Carol, found that students from six or seven years ago did not enjoy other works by the author, like Little Dorrit.
“It seemed that students were losing their connection to Dickens,” Suzanne said. “That was alarming, because, amongst the Victorian novelists, Dickens is the most popular, the most fun, the easiest to read – right up there with Jane Austen.”
Today, the students entering colleges and universities grew up reading the Harry Potter series. Consequently, said Keen, “they get Dickens.” Apparently, reading Harry Potter is like taking a crash course in reading Dickens because “it’s got humor, it’s got the caricatured names, it’s got multi-plots, it’s got the really long stories that you read for hours and hours and hours, and you enjoy the fact that they’re long.”
Suzanne goes on in the article that she gives all of the credit to J.K. Rowling for priming the younger students with a kid’s book version of a Dickensian world. A generation that enjoys reading long books, talking about books with other students, and better appreciating classical English Literature with the likes of Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.
Do you feel that reading the Harry Potter series has given you a greater appreciation towards reading classical works that you might not otherwise have enjoyed as much? Let us know in the comments below. Discussions are welcome.