Originally Posted by apbschmitz
Oh, The Scarlet Letter. Among the reasons that when my then 11th grade daughter said she wanted to leave high school and be home schooled/unschooled, I had to admit that I could see her point.
You can argue about whether high school kids should be obliged to read such a book. It didn't really kill me or her that it was part of the curriculum. The trouble was more the way it had to be taught. This was in a public high school in St. Paul, MN, so there were 25 or 30 kids in the class. You couldn't expect kids to read much of the book at any time, the language being what it is. So under the best of circumstances it would have taken approximately forever to finish the novel. Then throw in the fact that very few students ever seemed to read even that small portion, and you ended up with lectures addressed to kids who had no idea what the teacher was talking about. A very few of the Poindexters, my daughter included, were ready to discuss anything. Imagine being locked in such a class day after day. It was an education in something, but not literature.
My thinking on this is that The Scarlet Letter and other such books are taught because they were taught. I'm 58-years old, and I read The Scarlet Letter in high school. Sure, there are timeless verities, but I'm not sure this fits in that category. In my daughter's experience, it simply doesn't work to try to teach the book. Generally speaking, when things consistently don't work, sensible people try something else.
The inevitable question: Is my drop-out daughter now selling crack on the corner? No. Found her way into a very good college. Go figure.
I read Scarlet Letter when I was 15 or so. I thought it was great. Of course I didn't know it was supposed to be good for me and I was supposed to hate it. It was in the hospital library and in large type. Goes to show what limited choice can do for you