Say “no” to Sparknotes

As a freshman, English was my absolute favorite class. Nothing could have been better than a term filled with novels, plays and discussions for an English junky like myself.  However, throughout the year, I was reminded of a warning I had received before high school had even started, which gave me great anxiety. This warning was about a certain novel we would be reading at the end of the year by Charles Dickens.

All around me, I heard my fellow classmates muttering, “A Tale of Two Cities” is the worst book ever, absolutely horrible to get through, impossible to read, totally pointless and stupid.” The complaints could go on for hours. So after hearing all of these horrible comments regarding the novel, it seemed as if there would be no luck for me. But then, a knight and shining armor gave me a piece of advice. And thus, I was introduced to Sparknotes.

The majority of high school students already know what the website Sparknotes is, and are probably frequent visitors to the site. But, for those who do not know, Sparknotes is a website that gives you the ability to type in just about any book of your choosing and it will provide you with summaries and analysis of every chapter, major character, theme, and symbol which it deems to be important to the overall understanding of the book.

This site is a safe haven for those who do not really care to read the books we are assigned in school or simply run out of time or forget. I completely understand the appeal, but consider this.

When the time came to read “A Tale Of Two Cities,” most of my classmates barely bothered to crack open its glorious pages, and simply used Sparknotes. I almost fell into this trap as well, but I had never used Sparknotes before so I figured I had to give the book a shot. I opened the book and began to read. One page after the other, I became immersed in the trials and tribulations of Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay and Lucie Manette and her sick father. To this day, I will never forget the last sentence of the novel and the beauty it held, something I would have never experienced if I chose to Sparknote it.

Sparknotes is an amazing tool to refresh your memory or discover symbols within the book. I can even understand if someone has a horrible week and just does not have the time, but it is important to remember that nothing can replace the feeling of going to a different time period and place with new people and sharing their story. So when our teachers assign us books, keep in mind that it is to teach us something important. At least give the book a shot to prove itself.

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