Judging a Book By Its Title

7 Jun

Being around snooty adults all day (teachers) had taught me the names of classic novels I ought to read to enrich my vocabulary, my analytical skills, and my life in general. So they say. Having been forced to read many a classic for school has left me with a recurring theme.

I sit down, book in hand, wondering what it could possibly be about. A recent example is Of Mice and Men. If I had heard the title and nothing else, I’d guess it’s about some cross-species colony that lives in harmony until one side decides to overthrow the other and they engage in an epic battle to the death. NOT a frankly depressing novel about a mentally handicapped man who accidentally kills small rodents. I’m still trying to work out the themes of that one.
This same phenomenon occurred with The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, The House on Mango Street (not a single mango was mentioned, what a disappointment), and countless others. The title makes them sound like the Holy Grail of all literature, when in fact they are fairly average.

I’m sorry, historical literary icons. I just don’t understand you.


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