Literature is Elitist. Do you agree?

Hey everyone! I hope everyone is safe at home and being very careful about their healths and remembering to wear their masks!! I wrote a essay on a topic in literature which I thought I would share with you. It’s a very opinion based essay to please remember these are strictly my opinions.

Topic: Literature is Elitist. Do you agree? 

Would you continue to read a book that you didn’t understand or just stop? Your answer to that question will determine how you perceive literature. Literature itself has many genres that tell different stories, however, it is too broad of a topic to be able to discuss because of the range of genres and ideas. This essay will be focused on Classic Literature which is the most well-known genre of literature even though it essentially includes every genre. Books classified under Classic literature are essentially books that presented an idea ahead of their time or were of cultural importance (Lombardi). However, as the world of literature progresses people tend to not read classic literature as it doesn’t seem as exciting or fun as the newest books in similar genres. An understanding of literature and open-mindedness are the reasons’ literature should be considered elitist. 

To get an idea of why literature is elitist we don’t have to look any further than the official definition of literature. The definition on Merriam Webster is, “writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest” (Literature). From the definition itself, we can pick out that to understand literature and works classified as classic literature a certain understanding of the way it is presented is needed. Because literature includes a variety of ideas presented in different ways, it makes sense that only certain people with an acquired taste for those types of books can enjoy them. This is very clear in classic literature now as most people tend not to finish books that are considered classics such as Moby Dick, The Catcher in the Rye, Wuthering heights, Animal Farm, the Great Gatsby, and more (Rebecca) (Temple). And if you looked at most reviews on Goodreads you would find that most people disagree with the classification of these books as Classics which further proves that to read literature means to be elitist in one way or another, keeping in mind that some reviews also praise the books. Reading any kind of literature means being open to new ideas, concepts, and words however when people are confronted with ideas they didn’t know about, they feel inferior and classify the book they are reading as ‘bad’ because it challenged what they knew (Miller). This mentality is why literature can be considered elitist because open-mindedness is crucial to reading any kind of literature but especially classic literature.  

Literature is elitist because it requires an understanding of the style it’s written in but also open-mindedness as new ideas and concepts are introduced using literature. The unwillingness to understand that this is so is what makes literature hard to understand for some people. Classifying literature as elitist however is very opinion-based because every person has different tastes which means that my answer to this question could differ from someone with different experiences than me. It is also important to note that literature is ever-changing and authors are constantly introducing new topics and concepts which challenge our own.


Lombardi, Esther. “What’s the Difference Between Classical and Classic Literature?” ThoughtCo, Feb. 11, 2020, 

“Literature.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster,  

Miller, Laura. “Is The Literary World Elitist?”. Salon, 2014,

Temple, Emily. “10 Literary Classics We (Not So) Secretly Hate.” Literary  Hub, 20 Mar. 2018,  

Rebecca Joines Schinsky. “The 25 Most-Hated Books (By Book Riot Readers).” BOOK RIOT, 19 June 2013, 

Thank you for reading. I hope you liked it and let me know what you think down in the comments below. See you guys later! P.s don’t forget your masks!


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