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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Ceese on the Scarlet Letter (Very Minor Magic Street Spoiler)

   
Author Topic: Ceese on the Scarlet Letter (Very Minor Magic Street Spoiler)
dtjunkie
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"Mack, if you happen to live to be my age and somebody tells you you are going to have to read The Scarlet Letter I recommend you just kill yourself right off and get it over with" - OSC Magic Street

Preach on Ceese! I hated that book. I could never believe that the guy who wrote such great stuff as The Minister's Black Veil and Rappaccini's Daughter could also write such a steaming pile of....

Anyways, I wonder if this is strictly Ceese's opinion or whether it is one shared by Mr. Card.

Regardless, that moment of Magic Street really really made me laugh.

DT

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Orson Scott Card
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It's not my opinion. It's the truth. <grin>.

Hawthorne was lionized because he was one of the first American authors to be taken seriously in England. But he was never actually very good - think of who the English writers who were his contemporaries were! He also had an anti-religious axe to grind. Scarlet Letter was also quite topical, since there was a celebrated adultery case involving a prominent minister (not in the same timeframe as Scarlet Letter).

So the novel was very hot stuff for the time he wrote it. This does not change the fact that Hawthorne is a ponderously dull, preachy, and self-satisfied writer whose work would not attract the slightest attention were it not for the prominence he achieved in American letters during his lifetime. Unlike Melville, who actually knew how to tell a brilliant story brilliantly, Hawthorne was a moderately talented drudge who should be dropped from the undergraduate and high school curriculum.

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theresa51282
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I learned a lot of new words when I read the Scarlet Letter in high school. It made me feel smart but it certainly was boring. Learned a lot about punctuation of unnaturally long senteces but the fact that I was paying attention to punctuation shows how well the story captured my attention.
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0range7Penguin
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They made me read the scarlett letter my junior year as part of an advanced english course and I think the whole class wanted to kill themselves. I found it was a lot easier read if you skipped everthing that wasn't diolouge. The book got a lot shorter that way too.
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0range7Penguin
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[Big Grin] (meant to put that at end of previous post and pushed wrong button.)
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0range7Penguin
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The smiley face, I mean.
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MidnightBlue
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You know, you can just click edit....
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Orson Scott Card
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But sometimes it's so fun to track the poster's thought processes by putting one's edit in serial posts.
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Orson Scott Card
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It's like adding the line space to show a longer break.
*
Like that. We develop our own orthographic styles in an online forum setting.

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Peter Howell
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At least you people didn't have to endure Lure of the Labrador Wild in highschool. To this day, it's the only book that I have ever stopped reading and refused to finish. [Wall Bash]
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HandEyeProtege
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My freshman year of college, I tried to read all of the typical high school books that I had somehow missed out on in high school: Lord of the Flies, Great Expectations, The Brothers Karamazov, The Scarlet Letter; I have to agree that Hawthorne's novel was one of the most painful things I've ever read - and I did it volountarily!
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aiua
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I kind of liked it. *ducks* But then, it was a school classics course and a few of the other ones we read were Melville's Billy Budd and Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop.
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Icarus
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quote:
To this day, it's the only book that I have ever stopped reading and refused to finish.
For me that book was Atlas Shrugged.

As for The Scarlett Letter, when we read it in high school I hated it. I only have vague memories of my English teacher telling us all the things that A really represented . . . an absurdly long list with some real reaches. I had to read it again in graduate school and got a lot more out of it then. At least, I found it quite readable. I suppose he does have an anti-religious axe to grind, but taken by itself, the story can simply be about the hypocrisy in one particular Puritan community. I don't know that I would remove it from the "canon" altogether, but I can see pushing it back into an undergraduate American Lit class instead of (HS) Sophomore English.

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Icarus
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I also think Melville is very unfairly maligned, but then, I never encountered him until graduate school. I wrote one of my favorite papers on Moby Dick. Truthfully, the extensive cetology sections did bore me, but the rest of the book kept me thoroughly entertained--something that was rare for books I read in college and grad school.

(My real reawakening in graduate school was discovering Alice Walker. It hit me then how little I had read for pleasure since becoming an English major, and how my own love of creative writing had dried up as well. For a while then I soaked up everything I could read by southern African-American women, though I am neither black nor female, because they at least didn't seem to feel that narrative was dead. They were still telling stories while the other writers I was assigned to read were showing off.

Then I decided to read what I like and teach math instead of English. [Big Grin] )

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TomDavidson
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You know, while I find Hawthorne's longer work incredibly tedious, I really enjoyed most of his short fiction. Like a Saturday Night Live skit, Hawthorne was at his best when he kept it short.
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