Everything You Need to Know to Pass English Class: The Classics

funny english classic novelFor those of you just joining us, this is a continuation of a series of posts that aims to, um, “help” you with your classes, because if you get bad grades it makes us look better.

“Help,” in this case being the help you’d receive if you fell overboard on a boat, called for help, and got tossed a life-preserver, but instead of catching the life-preserver and floating to safety you were knocked unconscious by the surprisingly hefty floatation device and got eaten by sharks/drowned/run over by the boat.

(The first two parts of this series may come in handy during History or Chemistry class).

Thus, today we will tackle* the most difficult aspect of English class, which, for most people, is simply making sense of the jumbled sentences found in the novels themselves.

*Not literally. We’d probably get hurt, because most of these texts weigh more than us, even if we’ve got pads on.

To Kill A Mockingbird

This masterpiece, often referred to as an unparalleled advance in the field of bird hunting by accountants, engineers, politicians, or anyone else that can’t keep track of conversation but wants to appear intelligent, actually has nothing to do with mockingbirds. Once you overcome this misconception, you will have a very easy time understanding the actual plot. For reference’s sake, the main characters are named “Boo,” “Atticus,” and “Mockingbird.”

Lord of the Flies

This book does actually include a “Lord of the Flies,” but it is so confusing that most people purposefully forget that fact. Otherwise, this is basically a mix between the shows “Lost,” “Survivor,” “Extreme Wipeout,” and “The Teletubbies.”

The Red Badge of Courage

Like many books on this list, there is no red badge of courage present in the novel. (This is because of a sneaky marketing tactic where the author names their book after some tangible object, like a bird or badge. Then, when no one finds this object in the novel, they tell all their friends, ridiculing the author for his stupidity in forgetting that this object isn’t in his book. Thus, more people want to be included in the ‘joke’ and the author not only hits the bestseller list but makes it into the immortal high school curriculum).

Actually, that entire parenthetical is all I’ve got on this book, because this book is so bad that I won’t mention specifics without first personally apologizing, in person, very person-ably. Since I can’t do that to all of you, I’ll skip it.

Romeo and Juliet

We all know this one; it’s the classic that has been re-made so many times that people can’t actually keep track of the original anymore. If you know which version came first, please let somebody know; this is probably the reason our economy is failing. This story either involves a song, a musical, an animated movie, or, probably the least likely of all the choices, a Shakespearean play.

Animal Farm

Now, if you think about it, all farms with animals could be considered animal farms. However, not all farm animals are communists, and that’s pretty much all you need to know in regards to this book. It was originally introduced into the curriculum by an undercover KGB agent who didn’t take the time to read to the end of the novel (spoiler: communism doesn’t work too well in its current forms).


A classic classic (and thus twice as bad as all the other classics), Macbeth details a young man’s journey to take revenge on the society that casts him out by building a world-renowned food franchise that will cause obesity for generations to come. Oh, wait, I’m sorry. I’m thinking of MacDonald, another Shakespeare classic (he was quite the prolific author).

The only thing I can tell you about Macbeth is that there are three witches who chant incantations, the only part of which that sticks in my mind being something about a newt, or possibly a salamander. Actually, with the way my memory is after two days of no sleep, for all I know there are three pigs, or three bears, and not three witches.

Brave New Fahrenheit 1984 World (451)

For time’s sake, I’ve clumped these three books into one category: the future could be really bad, or really confusing, or really hot (451 degrees F is above most summer temperatures, except of course in parts of California and certain places on the surface of the sun). To add to the confusion, none of these books has anything to do with Mockingbirds, Lords of Flies, or Badges of Courage (whatever color they may be).

Aren’t English novels just wonderful? They not only provide hours of entertainment (for the English teachers), but also play a valuable role in our daily life, from the seats we use to eat in front of the TV (you really only need 2-3 thick volumes) to the weapons we use to rid our house of mosquitoes.

Last year at this time we offered advice on a different topic with “5 Tips for an Amazing Powerpoint Presentation.” Even if you don’t care for Powerpoints, you should still check it out, because it is one of the original illustrated posts (so it’s got a few great pictures).

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