Eddie Watkins's Reviews > The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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really liked it
bookshelves: american-fiction

THIS BOOK IS ABOUT A PREECHERS SPERM IT HAS UPTIGHT PEOPLE IN IT
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Reading Progress

September 9, 2010 – Started Reading
September 9, 2010 – Shelved
Finished Reading
September 30, 2014 – Shelved as: american-fiction

Comments Showing 1-44 of 44 (44 new)

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Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion I just ordered one, maybe two, 500-600 page Hawthorne biographies.


Eddie Watkins I will have to read one of those at some point. I'm getting even more fascinated with Hawthorne, and I'm loving this book. There have been moments during my reading that I feel like I'm right there inside his head almost while he's writing it. It's a weird feeling. Like I'm seeing exactly what he was seeing; thinking what he was thinking. There's something timeless about his concerns and his psychological processing of events, and the way he presents those events in imaginative terms. Gibber jabber...


Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion I often have some real skepticism and fear when it comes to reading biographies. It's normal for most folks to read biographies as some objective representation of the person, but even when maintaining a filter to prevent this kind of thinking, it's sometimes hard to separate what is the biographer's slant vs. the actual person depicted. Still, I'm really fascinated by this character and feel a bit of a kindred spirit, especially when reading what many people write about the guy.

Yeah, to agree with your point about being inside his head, I find that Hawthorne, more than most writers, really wears his heart on his sleeve. Everything is very personal and shows what he was really feeling and thinking, often times quite explicitly despite the romantic nature of the stories and style.


Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion At some point I'll have to indulge in his English and American notebooks as well.


Eddie Watkins I read some of the American Notebooks quite a while ago and liked it, but that was before I really read his novels and stories.

With him there's also a kind of detached observer of himself and his thought and emotional processes that resonates with me. This quality also helps give his stories a touch of dream atmosphere.

Right on about bios. I'm still not quite sure what I look for in one. Some are just too dry and information-oriented, while others are too uselessly subjective or are grinding a theoretical axe. It's probably best to read a few to get a few different angles, but that would have to be reserved for those people I'm really obsessed with.


message 6: by David (last edited Sep 13, 2010 06:58AM) (new)

David EdWat, you're really reading this thing? I tried last year during my world-famous Year of American Classics®, but it was so ruthlessly windbaggish and dull that I just could not make it through.

I tried. My god, how I tried!

But no.

Just no.


Eddie Watkins I love Hawthorne and, yes, I am reading it; NOT rereading it as I avoided it in high school, though I did well on the test.

I agree it is windbaggish in spots but that just means there's more to love; more cushion for the pushin.

I used to have a problem with his language. I found it starchy and dull and dryly overwrought, but with deeper familiarity it has come to life.


message 8: by David (new)

David Starchy, dull, and dryly overwrought is exactly right.

I actually enjoyed reading James Fenimore Cooper more than this. And that is sayin' somethin'.


Eddie Watkins That is sayin somethin. Cooper's an emotionally juvenile hack compared to Hawthorne.


message 10: by David (new)

David Yeah, but Cooper's frontier kitsch was more entertaining (to me).


Eddie Watkins I found Cooper to have a kind of pulp quality - surfacey and not too well written but with a very strong imaginative element that carries one along.

Don't give up on Hawthorne, though, just because of this book. Maybe try some of his stories.


Eddie Watkins James Fenimore Cooper - The Last of the Mohicans, etc.


Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion ahhhh.......i'm sharin' my goodreads dreamworld again where reality is all wrong! don't wake me!

you can see where i stumble......"frontier kitsch," "pulp quality....with a very strong imaginative element that carries one along......" etc..... (chuckle)


Eddie Watkins I think I'm basically ignoring all the reasons why high school teachers think it's so important for us - moral and ethical quandaries and conflict, etc. - but the atmosphere and potent imagination at play are astounding; and I really dig the themes of outsiderdom and the freedom of thought and difficulties that brings. For the most part I'm just into his writing. There are some incredible sentences in the book that go deep into the psyche.


Eddie Watkins Just ignore me Tim. The last thing I want to do is interrupt your dreams.


Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion No....no.........I'm only inviting you to process it as such when you see I'm making loose connections or general dickering. All a part of the goodreads game.........


Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion It's too bad dear Hawthorne is boxed in to his Scarlet Letter book, and even that is generally a narrow study on a cheap level of ethics/moralism. It's by far the least interesting of his works that I've read.......and yet still there is a hell of a lot of stuff there.
I have to agree with Melville on this one: Hawthorne is worth salivating over.


Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion Eddie,

You're a bright puddle in my misanthropic world!

Incredible sentences, yes. Incredible. On fire.


message 20: by Jessica (last edited Sep 14, 2010 05:32AM) (new)

Jessica all right, what's this new trend?

ONE-LINE SUMMARIES ALL-IN-CAPS AS REVIEWS??


Eddie Watkins JESSICA ITS A CURRENT FAD THATS ALLREADY PASSE


message 22: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I SEE.


Eddie Watkins I'm not sure it's a spoiler, Elizabeth. There are so many heavy-handed hints about his part in the affair throughout the book that I don't think his public revelation at the end was meant to be a total shock.


Eddie Watkins You should check him out again, Jon. I've just accepted that he's one of my all-time favorites, to be read and reread, which is odd because I prefer bald writers.


Eddie Watkins His stories are great, but I'd have to check a table of contents for specific recs of those. The only other novel I've read is The Blithedale Romance and I loved it. It's a fantasia based mostly on his time spent in a utopian community.

I also kind of associate the American Transcendentalists with my teen years, but every time I pick one up again they still speak to me afresh.


Eddie Watkins I still read Emerson too.

I've wanted to read The Marble Faun since it was mentioned in the film Grey Gardens, but it'll have to wait because I'm reading them in order.


Eddie Watkins The mother/daughter had a boy who came over and did odd jobs and the daughter seemed kind of fixated on him and referred to the boy as "the marble faun".


Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion I agree with Elizabeth.............that review is a SPOILER, EW!!!!


Eddie Watkins I don't agree with all this anti-spoiler BS. Spoilers only apply to murder mysteries and trick flicks like The Sixth Sense and Shutter Island, in which some previous knowledge totally ruins the experience.


Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion I'm bringing this to Drew's attention.


Eddie Watkins An opinion of a book, strongly expressed, can influence one's subsequent reading of the book as much or more than any plot spoiler. A good book, which is a book to be reread anyway, can not be ruined by a simple spoiler, so I don't see the big deal with them.


Eddie Watkins The sperm is subtle. It's neither seen nor smelt and functions as a kind of fallen holy ghost in the plot.


Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion Like Elizabeth said, E, certain plot points can affect a reading.... Poe (?) said it can't be objective, but additionally it should attempt not to be subjective. And it's also an issue because I'm now reading Elmer Gantry and I keep asking, what's with the preacher's sperm? When is it comin'? Will Eddie also review this one the same/similar way? Hard to get over that. I know you don't mean to do it but there are tons of plot points and then there are some really critical plot points that just grab people in a spoiling way and one of those is probably preaching sperm.


message 34: by Meg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Meg Best review ever.


Eddie Watkins To clarify - IT IS NOT THE PREECHERS SPERM THAT HAS UPTIGHT PEOPLE IN IT BUT RATHER THE BOOK THO THE PREECHERS SPERM MOST LIKELY HAS UPTIGHT PEOPLE IN IT IN POTENTIA


message 36: by Meg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Meg The preacher's sperm is actually pretty loose in spite of having uptight people in it.


Eddie Watkins EVEN UPTIGHT PREECHERS LOOSEN UP AT THE MOMENT OF SPERMING


message 38: by Michelle (new)

Michelle I KNOW I DO


Eddie Watkins YOGA WORKS MIRACLES DONT IT


Denise Nichel This is the best review ever. Ever.


Violet :D


Kayleigh The spelling of "preecher" really sold it to me.


Vanessa I was admiring your exegesis of this text and was going to ask if you were a poet. Then I looked at your profile. I must be a wizard!


Eddie Watkins I never thought of this review as particularly poetic. Thanks for wizardly pointing it out to me.


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