Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Classics Come Back to Haunt

Classics seem to be hit and miss for everyone...especially when "everyone" is young. There are those exceptions I read about in the blogosphere who loved Jane Austen at 13 or fell madly for Dickens at 11, but I was not one of those students. Until the age of 15 I was all about L.J. Smith, Stephen King, and anything else horrory. Classics were an acquired taste, to put it nicely. Once I fell, I fell hard, but it took a while.

Right now I find myself in a position to re-read a classic that I first read as a teen and then later in my early 20s. I picked up The Scarlet Letter for Dr. Partin's English class as a junior or senior in high school, and I SO didn't read it. I looked at it sitting on my nighstand occasionally. I took good notes in class and made a 100 on the test (Sorry, Dr. P.). However, I decidedly did not read it.

As I college student, I found myself in Dr. Moseley's American Lit survey. When I wasn't counting her "ums" during her lectures (75 in 30 minutes one time), to my surprise and delight, I freakin' loved Hester Prynne and read the book in a day. I was also on a feminism kick, and I adored Hester as a hard-nosed heroine.

Now I'm 29, I'm teaching my own class in early American Literature, and I'm having the HARDEST TIME getting back into this novel! I have no idea what my problem is other than burnout from a busy work schedule and the discomforts of pregnancy roundness, but it's like pulling my fingernails out to devote any significant time to this book. I know if I could sink into it again, I would probably love it all over, but the only sinking I'm doing is into my bed.

Have you read any classics at various points in life? What was your reaction to the re-reading?

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