Aaron Widmar
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Porsche & Prejudice: 11 Classic Literature Novels That Would Be Improved by Adding Cars

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Classic Literature novels cars driving book pages

As an English major, I was subjected to reading and scrutinizing countless works of classic literature–both in my graduate studies and throughout grade school. While I immensely enjoyed some of the renowned prose, many of the books failed to impress me. They all seemed to be lacking something…

I eventually realized that there was a common theme in the literature I enjoyed. The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, On the Road, The Wind in the Willows…these weren’t good works of fiction for their compelling characters, insight into the human condition, or mastery of the English language. No, these were all masterpieces because they involved automobiles.

So, wouldn’t it stand to reason that we could drastically improve the majority of underwhelming, overrated literature by simply writing in lots of cars? If Pride and Prejudice and Zombies can do it with the undead, I don’t see why we can’t do it with automobiles.

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How Classic Books Can Be Improved By Appending Them with Automobiles

Teacher professor in brown coat glasses with book1) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain): Considered by many to be the “Great American Novel,” Huck Finn is missing something undeniably patriotic: pickup trucks. Clearly, Huck’s and Jim’s journey along the Mississippi River would be improved were they in an American-made truck instead of a raft.

2) The Pilgrim’s Progress (Bunyan): This seventeenth-century religious allegory doesn’t get read very much anymore–probably because the journey of protagonist Christian to the Celestial City takes so long when it could’ve easily been a day’s journey via SUV. That would’ve also offered some solid “Jesus take the wheel” moments.

3) Heart of Darkness (Conrad): What’s with so many of these classic novels being all about journeys? It’s like it’s supposed to be symbolic. You know how much of this novel is Marlow waiting around at stations waiting for transportation–and repairs to said transportation? Had he simply caught a ride in a Hummer, we could’ve gotten right to the good stuff with Kurtz.

4) The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien): Seriously, another journey story?! While most readers (or movie watchers) today wonder why the fellowship didn’t simply hitch rides with the giant eagles to get to Mount Doom, I question why they didn’t pack up in a vehicle–like one of those transit vans that has enough seating capacity for eight adventurers. They could’ve kept the ring in the glove box.

5) Wuthering Heights (Bronte): I like the Gothic nature of this twisted romance, but too many pages are spent describing characters’ treks on foot through the desolate moors. The novel’s tedious length could easily be cut in half if the characters simply drove their station wagons (Subarus, if they want to remain angsty and outdoorsy).

6) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stevenson): Dr. Jekyll’s transformation–both physically and mentally–into the sinister Mr. Hyde makes for great thrills, but the author missed a perfect opportunity for added characterization: the driving habits of Jekyll vs. Hyde. The contrast between the two personas would’ve been far more pronounced had we seen Jekyll as a timid driver and Hyde consumed with road rage.

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cat sitting on stack of books novels reading literature7) The Picture of Dorian Gray (Wilde): Don’t we all wish to preserve the beauty of classic cars? Had Gray’s portrait been painted to include the hedonistic young man’s sports car–which too would never wear out or show signs of damage–the story would’ve thoughtfully contemplated the transient nature of mechanical beauty.

8) Great Expectations (Dickens): When Pip comes into great wealth from the anonymous benefactor and spends it to become a gentleman, it makes total sense that he would buy a swanky car like a Bentley.

9) The Invisible Man (Wells): If purely for a hilarious scene of a car with an invisible driver that’s seemingly driving itself, The Invisible Man could’ve pulled off some wicked pranks in a fast food drive-thru.

10) Oliver Twist (Dickens): Another story that shows Dickens should’ve waited until after 1910 to write, young Oliver’s struggle to overcome poverty and find acceptance would’ve been much more compelling had he joined a street racing gang rather than a pickpocket gang–a plot point which now feels outdated. Fagin would’ve masterminded some exciting heists with his Saffron Hill crew, and Sikes could’ve run over Nancy with a car instead of beating her.

11) The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (Shakespeare): While technically a play and not a novel, Shakespeare’s works are ripe for modern updates. Caesar’s triumphant parade through the streets of Rome for the feast of Lupercal would’ve been even more majestic–and ominous–had he been riding in a motor cavalcade much like John F. Kennedy’s. He could’ve been assassinated right then, or taken out by a drive-by shooting (or stabbing) outside the Senate building.

Note: This entire article is written farcically. Don’t get your bookmarks in a twist.

Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.