English teachers and librarians frequently lament the disinclination their students feel toward classic literature-specifically, anything written before the twentieth century. Not only, do they believe, that today's young adults need the short-snappy-immediate prose (if one can call it thus) of cell phone texts, but they will no longer read classic literature on their own, for pleasure's sake, unless it's assigned-and even then, teachers are forced to test against Cliffs Notes and scan for the internet for proof of plagiarized papers. With random predictions forecasting the doom of paper and the downfall of traditional libraries, is it a waste of time to subject teens to the likes of Homer and other historic authors during this Information Age when bite-sized information is the rule of the day?
For many students, who do not hesitate to complain, the language of past writers is too hard. Since people no longer speak or write the way Shakespeare and Jane Austen did, it makes little sense for them to study these archaic modes of communication. After all, they could be developing Power Point presentations which will surely be something more relevant to their futures. Of course, the "too hard" theory is something English teachers should never succumb to or accept when they rush to defend centuries-old literature. The vast majority of students may not go on to become experts in Medieval Literature, but they can each benefit from the self-discipline a reading of Othello, Beowulf, or Crime and Punishment provides.