Emily's Reviews > The Pilgrim's Progress

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
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did not like it
bookshelves: fiction, classics, religion

This isn't easy for me to do, but I admit it. I give up. I can't make myself slog through this anymore.

I picked this up as part of my ongoing project to read classics I've somehow missed out on in the first 31 years of my life. Also, an old friend listed it as one of her 20 Most Memorable Books on facebook, so I was expecting to be moved. Or instructed. Or touched. Maybe that was part of the problem. But I've had it out from the library for 6 weeks, renewed it once already, the due date is looming ever closer and it's not getting any better.

It's an Allegory with a capital "A" and the moralizing is of far more importance than plot or characterization, so it's difficult to find a through story line. Basically, Christian is on a journey and meets with various weakness, temptations, and sins along the way personified as characters. There are interesting insights into human nature and the path to Heaven/The Celestial City, but it's so wordy that the reader has to wade through a whole lot to find those nuggets. I'm sure it's valuable as a Christian text, perhaps similar in its day to C.S. Lewis in ours, but I'm laying it down.

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Reading Progress

August 31, 2009 – Shelved
Started Reading
September 29, 2009 – Finished Reading
January 23, 2010 – Shelved as: fiction
January 23, 2010 – Shelved as: classics
May 22, 2013 – Shelved as: religion

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Allen In the days of this writing, people were wordy. There are children versions that are easier to get through! Just a thought if you didn't know but would like to finish it! :-)


Matthew Bargas "It's an Allegory with a capital "A" and the moralizing is of far more importance than plot or characterization, so it's difficult to find a through story line."
The allegorical aspect of the work is what made it interesting to me. Much like the Romance of the Rose, the names of the characters describe their personalities. One doesn't have to buy into all of the moralizing to appreciated Bunyan's literary talent. Amazing accomplishment for an individual who supposedly didn't have much of an education.


message 3: by Jen (new)

Jen Emily: I am finding myself in your shoes. I bought the book over a year ago because of the thought, Well, I'm older, a person of faith and I have an English degree,' so I felt that this is a "should-read." Perhaps I will attempt it again. What stops me is that all we are introduced to is pretty much the allegory, not a human being one can connect to. This is one of those books that lends itself to study in an instructive setting, such as a philosophy or religious studies class. Although I got through it, I found "Fahrenheit 451" to be similar for me: great for teaching an important truth.


message 4: by Jen (new)

Jen To the point made by Lisa. A wordy document was probably appreciated because of the beauty of language and what could be done with it. I'm just thinking that if I have an afternoon uninterrupted by commitments to lend to spiritual or literary pursuits, I might appreciate such a book. As a kid in the 1970s, I'd listen to records that way. Now, I notice that songs I listened to were so much longer than almost anything written today.


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