What Lit Books Have Taught Me

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What Lit Books Have Taught Me

Payton Eggering, Staff Writer

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While we all think it’s cool to complain about the books we’re reading in lit class and try and skate by using SparkNotes, there are several benefits to actually reading the assigned books. As a senior looking back at the books my classmates and I were assigned to read throughout the years, I can pick three off the top of my head that truly taught me something special.

The Running Dream

The Running Dream was actually assigned as a summer reading book before my freshman year had begun, and I had to write about it the very first week of school. While that part wasn’t so much fun, I still remember the message of this book very well: Do not, under any circumstance, lose sight of the goals you set. The protagonist, Jessica, is an incredible track runner and has every intention of taking her talents as far as she could go. Her dreams were dashed when she loses her leg in a freak accident. While she had many struggles, both mentally and physically, she still managed to get back out on the track. Wendelin Van Draanen, the author, painted a beautiful picture of what raw determination looks like, and it has still stuck with me.


My sophomore year, we read Night by Elie Wiesel. This was a book that really stuck with me for one really big reason. It is a beautifully written novel about some of the darkest times in world history. Wiesel recounts how he experienced the Holocaust, and I feel that this is important due to our society’s short memory. Tragic events happen all the time, and when there are pieces of work like his, it helps us to remember where we never want to be again. Remembering dark times like these also helps to realize that no matter how bad everything seems to be, we will get through it. Whether it be on a micro-level or macro-level, knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel and fostering hope can always be achieved, and this novel helps us to see that.

The Great Gatsby

The most memorable from my junior year by far was The Great Gatsby, due to the timeless lesson I was taught. This book focused a lot of its attention about how people like to put on the appearance of a happy and successful life when, in reality, they’re bitter inside. The reason this stuck out to me so much is because that is seen rampant today. Many people will brag about their life and how happy they are on social media, when they really are stressed or even depressed. It really helped me to put in perspective how little we really know about the people we follow,because they only put up the memories and moments in which they are happy, even if they truly aren’t. The reality of it all is that we should treat everyone with love and kindness, in the more than off chance that they needed to hear a positive comment that day.

Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior or even senior, pay attention in the books you spend weeks reading with your classmates. There is a lesson in every piece of literature placed in front of you, so don’t brush it off as “just another assignment.” The teachers know what they’re talking about when they assign the books they give you, and the messages that we can learn are invaluable.

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