This is one of the books that I started with last summer when I decided that I was going to make a project out of The List. I had never read it for school, and assumed it would be a lot more enjoyable than some of my friends (who did have to read it in high school) had made it seem. I can’t say it’s my favorite book, but I also can’t say it was torture to read.
As I’m sure most of you know, the story follows Hester Prynne, an adulteress, and her daughter, Pearl. Situated as they are in Puritan Boston, being an adulteress is a big deal, and Hester’s punishment is public humiliation in the form of a scarlet “A” to be worn on her clothes at all times. It’s a story of contrition, of courage, and of growth as Hester tries to overcome her sins, both through charitable works and her love of her daughter, who is her cross to bear.
This is one of those books where I’m sort of like, “Okay, so…what’s the big deal?” I’m glad I read it voluntarily—and didn’t have to write anything like a high school lit paper on it—because I’m sure if I had had to read it in school, I would have hated it. Then again, I hated most reading I had to do for school, probably because it was extra work, and I liked reading my books. But I digress.
I definitely liked the story, as it was entertaining and emotional, but I’m one of those people who got fed up with English lit classes primarily because of their insistence that a story can’t just be a story. I disagree, and in this blog I’m going to try to stay away from all that literary analysis and really just focus on how books make me feel. In terms of this particular book, like I said, I enjoyed it, but I felt nothing beyond that. No real affinity for any of the characters, and no real animosity, either. I was just reading a book, and that’s fine, but usually I like to be more involved in my books than The Scarlet Letter really gave me the opportunity for.
To sum up my reading experience in one word: meh.