Friday, April 16, 2010

The House of Seven Gables - Chick Voice Reads the Classics



Somehow, my 1970's public high school education had a glaring omission.  They never made us read the classics.  Really.............the only novel I was ever required to read beside "The Catcher in the Rye" was a Kurt Vonnegut novel.  Hey, it was the 70's and everyone was really, you know, "laid back". :)  (We did study a lot of Beatles lyrics as poetry...............so I got that going for me..............which is good).

So several years ago I got on a kick to read "LITERATURE" and I started by getting a list of Pulitzer prize winning novels.  Unfortunately, I started with a John Updike novel and never went back to the list.

So lately, I browse through a dusty used book store near my office, and find titles I've heard of and start in.

"The House of Seven Gables".  Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Gee, this one only took MONTHS to get through.  Never being able to do more than 2 or 3 pages at a time slowed the process down.  I kept having to read passages over and over to figure out what was going on.  When the main character's name is Hepzibah............seriously.............how do you even say that?  Clearly, anything written in 1851 is going to be a tough read but I really struggled with this one.  I was determined to plow through to the end and see how the story ended.  Reviews on line from others comforted me that I was not the only one who found it hard to follow.  However, there were some passages that I really liked ........and one in particular that I read and reread.

Spoken from Holgrave to Phoebe.

"Our first youth is of no value: for we are never conscious of it, until after it is gone. But sometimes ----always, I suspect, unless one is exceedingly unfortunate--------there comes a sense of second youth, gushing out of the heart's joy of being in love; or possibly, it may come to crown some other grand festival in life, if any other such there be.  This bemoaning of one's self (as you do now) over the first, careless, shallow gaiety of youth departed, and this profound happiness at youth regained-----so much deeper and richer than that we lost-----are essential to the soul's development.  In some cases, the two states come almost simultaneously, and mingle the sadness and rapture in one mysterious emotion."

Best part of the book..............on to less difficult reads.

1 comment:

babybloomr said...

Speaking as one public high school in the 70's graduate to another-- Here's to a glorious "second youth!" I love this quote so much. Now I want to go re-read the book...

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