Thursday, January 20, 2011

Literary Blog Hop: Literary read that I can't stand

For this week's literary blog hop the people over at The Blue Bookcase have come up with a question I enjoy far more than I probably should: Discuss a work of literary merit that you hated when you were made to read it in school or university. Why did you dislike it?

I don't necessarily think of myself as a particularly negative person but when it comes to complaints I feel like I have a lot to say.  You'd think, since I work in pseudo-tech support, that I'd get all the complaining out of my system while at work.  But no.  Anyway, onto the literary part of this

Early American Lit is my least favorite literary time period.  I thought I had managed to weasel my way out of taking any early American lit classes while at college, but last minute (last semester of my final year) I needed a time period class and SURPRISE, this was the only time period available.  With the exception of the Poe stuff we read I was a fairly unhappy camper but my least favorite thing, read in this class and high school English is The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne. I know it's a great story, lots of symbolism, blah blah blah.  The problem is I can't appreciate it for 2 reasons: the characters annoy me so much and the story is boring.

Hawthorne managed to take a story filled with adultery, stifling religious beliefs and lies and yet I had trouble reading it without falling asleep.  I know this isn't the case with all of Hawthorne's writing.  I love some of his short stories, especially Young Goodman Brown and Rappaccini's Daughter.  OK, maybe "love" is too strong but I enjoyed both those stories and have read them more than once.  But The Scarlet Letter never really draws me in.  I remember I would constantly stop reading to count how many pages I have left in the chapter, book, etc.  That's never a good sign.

**Thar be spoilers**
Then there are the characters.  I just spend my time arguing with them.  I wish I could agree with Hester keeping quiet about Pearl's father's identity.  On the other hand, Dimmesdale is such a coward that I don't really see why protecting him is so necessary.  Maybe if Hawthorne had given Hester a stronger voice I wouldn't be so frustrated with the characters.  Hell, maybe that would help with my other point and the story would be more interesting.  But he didn't and thus, my points stand.
**Spoilers contained. Carry on**

What about you?  What literary work can't you stand?