Cremate the Classics!

Nick Nagle

I have not read many books in my lifetime, but the books I do read, I enjoy. As a writer, I have begun to discover the many benefits of reading such as entertainment, increased knowledge, increased language skills, and new sources of creativity. Recently, I decided to venture through classic literature namely that of America and France. Although many of these classics are entertaining, they are not perfect. I can recognize their literary genius, however; that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be great books. In this article, I will be analyzing (and bashing) classic works of literature such as The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. These pillars of society have shaped the world we live, and I intend to wipe the dust from these books and throw them into a scorching fire.

The Cremation Scale:

  1. Singed (Not too bad) 1 Flame
  2. Charred (Moderately Bad) 2 Flames
  3. Burnt to Ash (Extremely Bad) 3 Flames


First Book to the Pyre: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is undoubtedly one of the most heavily regarded novels ever written. Written in 1922 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby is about a man named Nick Carraway who is writing about his life in West Egg, New York along with his mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby. The Great Gatsby is an American classic. There is great imagery used throughout the book and it has a very satisfying ending. However, there are also many negatives, in my personal opinion, to the Great Gatsby. I believe the characters are too “fake” especially for a fictional story. Personally, I cannot relate to a single one of them which makes the overall book less enjoyable for me to read. I thought the plot moved by slowly in the book which may be preferable to some people but not to me. In my experience, I also seem to like stories with a lot of death in them. Not to sound depressing or insane or anything, I just think stories get a lot more interesting when one of the major characters dies. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t think the Great Gatsby got interesting until one of the minor characters died later on in the book. Overall, I just found the story to be boring and not very exciting. I’m sure there are people out there who enjoyed it a lot more than I did, and that’s perfectly fine. This is just my opinion, after all. Regardless, I think the Great Gatsby was not a good book and that’s why it has earned three flames on “Cremation Scale” which means that the Great Gatsby is burnt to ash.


Second Book to the Pyre: The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye is another classic work of American literature and is a book almost everyone has heard of at least. When I first read the Cather in the Rye, I really loved the book. I thought that I related to the main character, Holden Caulfield, in some ways especially with his wisecracks and sarcastic comments. However, the more I read it, the more I grew to hate the book. I realized how much Holden is everything I hate in people my age: immature, idiotic, and vulgar. Throughout the book, the plot doesn’t go anywhere of importance. Anytime there’s about to be something that can be considered exciting in the book, the plot ends up taking a turn for the worst. There are very few, if any, climatic moments in the novel. Therefore, the Catcher in the Rye has earned two flames on the “Cremation Scale” which means the Catcher in the Rye is charred.


The Final Book to the Pyre: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is by far my favorite novel of all time and possibly the best book I have ever read. I absolutely love it. For those who don’t know, the story takes place in Victorian era England when a chain of mysterious murders start occurring out of nowhere. Many witnesses reported a man leaving the crime scenes with a walking cane and a hunch. That man is known by the name of Mr. Hyde. Meanwhile, Dr. Jekyll, a scientist, is performing experiments with different liquid concoctions in hopes of separating the “two sides” that are within every man: the light and the dark, and Dr. Jekyll tests his elixirs on no one else but himself. One can assume that his experiments end up being successful since it is eventually discovered that Jekyll and Hyde are one in the same. Dr. Jekyll is a kind and respectable man of science whereas Mr. Hyde is a short-tempered, violent maniac who would attack anyone that slightly makes him angry. This book is interpersonal conflict at its finest. I won’t spoil the ending for or plot for anyone. I would just heavily recommend reading it for yourself! My main problem with this book is, in fact, the ending. I 100% hate books that have open endings. Being a writer myself, I like the story to be over when it’s over. But no! Not for Robert Louis Stevenson! He leaves you to wonder what happens to both Dr. Jekyll at the end of the book and Mr. Hyde. The book ends with Dr. Jekyll writing his last confession in his journal and then… .his writing stops. That’s the ending in a nutshell, so I won’t spoil it for anyone. If any open ending would be appropriate for any book, it would be this one; however, I still can’t get over it and wonder whatever happened to the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Therefore, the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has earned one flame on the “Cremation Scale” which means this book is singed.