Part 1, drafted 3 days ago
The Scarlet Letter kept getting mentioned recently, for some reason. It's been buzzing around.
I remember hating it in high school. I figured that it wouldn't hurt me to read it now, and that I might actually enjoy it.
Dear lord. I am two CDs in to the audio book, and I am DYING. It's not even to the actual "book" yet--it's still the introduction, called "The Custom House"--and it's the most horrifically boring thing I have ever listened to. No significant action, not a single intriguing character, just meandering, awful, dull prose.
I am completely screwed if I ever have to teach it. When some kid asks, "Miss, what's the significance of that portion of the text?" I'm going to be hard-pressed to come up with any other answer but "hell if I know." It seems to exist merely because Hawthorne enjoyed the sound of his own voice.
Part 2, as of this evening
Shortly after writing the above, I broke through "The Custom House" and into the actual novel (novella? It seems short).
I hate it a bit less, now, but not much. There are, at least, characters worth noticing, and something in the way of action. However, the overwhelming fire/brimstone/devil imagery is SO DAMN OPPRESSIVE. It's his go-to metaphor for nearly everything.
Additionally, anything having to do with Puritanical values is currently rubbing me entirely the wrong way, so I'm mostly in a state of agitation at the narrow-mindedness of the characters as I'm listening to it. (Perhaps it wouldn't bother me so much if I didn't know that these are the types of people our country was founded by, and partially why in contemporary times we have such ridiculous debates about things like gay marriage and death penalties for women getting abortions.)
Anyway. I think this is failed experiment, though if I change my mind about the book once I'm done, I'll be sure to let you know.