Advice for the Modern Classic

The purest feeling that exists is reading something for the first time. However, re-reading some classics (and attending a literature seminar or two) may have you wondering just how romantic these stories are to audiences in this day and age. So, what happens when you’re a complete sucker for romance, but don’t have a relationship of your own to distract you from getting involved in everyone else’s? You imagine what conversations you’d have with the more interesting literary romantic leads if they were living in 2017. Disclaimer: No spoiler alerts because all these works have been out for nearly a century or more. Juliet Capulet: Is it sad to admit how much I identified with you in middle school? Sigh. While I obviously still believe women should have freedom of choice in all aspects of their lives, I know I’d be rolling my eyes and/or majorly concerned if my high school-aged sisters pulled any of that crap. I get that you have strict parents and that sucks, but look on the bright side: you can always hang with Romeo during lunch break and the weekend. Figure out what you want out of your relationship. Is it love—great. Lust? That’s cool too (just use protection, I beg you.) What you should prioritize: your education. Whether or not your relationship will last should not determine what your goals beyond Romeo are, because you seem like a pretty cool kid and you’ve got a lot of potential. Keep on shining, you star-crossed gal.

Lancelot du Lac: Dude. I know you can’t help who you fall for. And I’m not saying this because you’re breaking some kind of guy code—because Guinevere is not a prize to be won, is just as responsible for cheating, and probably more stressed about this whole thing than you are—but don’t be a dick. Either break it off right now before anyone gets seriously hurt, or you and Guin need to sit your boy Arthur down and come clean. It definitely won’t be easy; it will certainly be tense and awkward. But if you have any hopes of either salvaging your friendship or being with your lady love, you need to do some serious soul-searching. Good luck to you, good sir.

Fitzwilliam Darcy: Darcy… darn it! You’re so gosh darn adorable! But I still need to fault you for all those douchey things you said about Lizzy and her family. That was plain classist; you shouldn’t assume that just because someone is of a different socio-economic standing that they’re a certain way or that people who don’t meet your stereotypes are some special exception. But I also get that you were trying to be a good friend to Bingley. That aside, you messed up, became aware that you messed up and owned up to it, and then you tried to make things right without expecting Elizabeth to fall for you. My only bit of advice for you mister, is that just because you’re proud of who you are, you shouldn’t view others as inferior just because they don’t share the same background as you. You know what they say about assuming, right? …Wait, did I just assume?

Edward Fairfax Rochester: I think we both know you messed up big-time, two-timer. I don’t really have anything against bigamy if all parties involved are in agreement, but that entails you telling your fiancée that you’re actually already married. Communication in relationships are important. That’s probably why your first marriage didn’t work out, I guess. I understand you weren’t prepared to be in relationship with someone with mental health struggles, but you don’t just lock someone away because you don’t want to deal with them. Bertha deserved better and so did Jane. Thank your lucky stars she took your sneaky ass back.

Nick Carraway: Nick, my lovely little people watcher. People may argue with me that Gatsby is the true romantic lead of your story, but you also got caught up in the middle of all drama. Not to mention playing a big role in a huge love pyramid(?). Fess up Nick—we all know it wasn’t just Jordan you had the hots for. Your infatuation with one Jay Gatsby was quite clear; while he was trying to get your cousin back, you were observing and admiring from afar. You stood by him right until the end when no one else did. If that’s not love, I really don’t know what is. But remember to take care of your heart too.

Illustration By: Julianna Sy