I just finished reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I must say that I was more impressed than the high schoolers that are currently assigned to read it will be. Yes, the language is old and tedious…made even more so because Hawthorne, being that great writer that he is, also made the language more old fashioned to adjust for Puritan talky-talk. Thees and Thous all over the place. This could be confusing for students who may not understand that Letter is a historical novel.
But I’m really glad I read it. It was definitely a wonderful psychological piece. Talk about messed up children and all kinds of emotional damage.
If I’d read this in high school when I was supposed to, I know–deep down in my heart of hearts–that I would not have appreciated it. At all.
Part of the appeal also came from Hawthorne’s introductory “The Custom House.” In this little intro to why he wrote The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne makes me feel a whole lot better about being an author. Apparently, even back in the day, authors (genius authors even!) had to work tedious, shitty day jobs. Because of this, I’m going to make Hawthorne my mentor of the month. Stay tuned for further expansion on the day job and the genius!
Now, on to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass!
(I’ve begun these two Lewis Carroll works and I have to give the writing edge to Hawthorne. By a lot. It’s obvious Alice is totally kid’s lit, just from the language.)