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Joker94's avatar

What work of classic literature did you hate?

Asked by Joker94 (8180points) August 13th, 2011

Yes, there are many beloved works of classic literature out there that we all have to read at one point or another. Were you required to read the book in question? Did the fact that you had to read it give it a negative stigma from the get-go? Tell us which one you hate, and why!

I’ll start. Deep breath I despised Great Expecations. That was, without a doubt, one of the most miserable reading experiences I have ever had. The pacing, the style of writing, everything about it was just terrible. The only mildly redeeming thing about that book was the last couple chapters, when you thought that all the conflicts were gonna be totally resolved. I wouldn’t wish that book on my worst enemy. My friend once asked me what the book was about, and y’know what I told him? I told him, “It’s about a kid that never get’s anything he wants and spends 500 pages complaining about it, and in the end he still doesn’t really get it.” Exhale

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65 Answers

SuperMouse's avatar

The Scarlet Letter

Blondesjon's avatar

Junior Year. The Grapes Of Wrath.

fuck tom joad

redfeather's avatar

The Great Gatsby

fuckin sue me. I hated it.

Blackberry's avatar

Pretty much everything they made us read in high school lol. Of mice and men, and that stupid atticus finch book lol.

KateTheGreat's avatar

The Lord of the Flies and The Odyssey.

Jellie's avatar

Oh my, yes I read Jane Eyre and did not care for it much. I could not understand what the hype was about.

SuperMouse's avatar

@KatetheGreat I loathed Lord of the Flies, every single word of it.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Moby Dick. Well named looooong stupid book with screamingly obvious themes. My teeth hurt just remembering reading it.

Judi's avatar

I thought I would love it, but The Illiad was torture. The Odyssey as well.

Vunessuh's avatar

Pride and Prejudice and Brave New World.

Blondesjon's avatar

nerd alert: i loved lord of the flies, the odyssey, and to kill a mockingbird. i think it’s because i chose to read them instead of being forced to in school. my brother and i both argue about the outsiders and rumble fish for the same reason. he hates them because he had to read them. i read them on my own.

Joker94's avatar

@Blondesjon Darn you…I loved The Grapes of Wrath..
@Blackberry I’m reading To Kill a Mockingbird right now!
@KatetheGreat I dunno if I hated LotF, but it was sinfully over-hyped.

tinyfaery's avatar

I love the classics, but Earnest Hemingway makes me wanna drink myself to death. Ha!

KateTheGreat's avatar

@SuperMouse I once had to write a 15 page thorough examination of that damned book. I hate it with a passion.

@Joker94 I suppose when you have to study it in depth, you learn to hate it a lot more.

redfeather's avatar

I liked To Kill A Mockingbird.

Also hated Their Eyes Were Watching God

Blondesjon's avatar

@Joker94 . . . I really liked the John Ford movie adaptation. My reasons for disliking Grapes mirror your reasons for Expectations.

KateTheGreat's avatar

@redfeather ::pukes:: Their Eyes Were Watching God bored me to tears.

Would Where the Red Fern Grows be considered a classic? Because if it is I hate it with every fiber of my being.

Joker94's avatar

@Blondesjon Ah, in that case, I can totally see where you were coming from.
@KatetheGreat Ugh, that book was just so…mediocre. The themes were pretty obvious, but over all I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I could’ve.

redfeather's avatar

@KatetheGreat I just remember something about rabies, maybe a donkey, and haaaaaating it.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Romeo and Juliet
I like Shakespeare (Titus Andronicus is a badass play), but I just did not like this one. Maybe because I’m single and bitter? Probably.

Blondesjon's avatar

I didn’t hate it, but I was disappointed in The Red Badge Of Courage.

It did teach me how badly a black powder rifle could fuck you up.

heresjohnny's avatar

Another vote for The Scarlet Letter. I love Hawthorne’s short stories, but that book made me physically ill. Okay, not really, but you get the idea. I really hated it.

SuperMouse's avatar

@heresjohnny I am with you on Hawthorne’s short stories, I was actually shocked to enjoy both The Minister’s Black Veil and Young Goodman Brown.

jonsblond's avatar

Another vote for The Grapes Of Wrath. I could not finish that thing.

ddude1116's avatar

1984. Yeah, it was a decent satire, but the whole premise of subsidizing a diminished-intellect is preposterous. Not to mention Orwell’s painful writing style, overcompensating his tenets for his lackadaisical style.

Blondesjon's avatar

@ddude1116 . . . I agree. Stylistically, Animal Farm was everything 1984 should have been.

TexasDude's avatar

@ddude1116 but the whole premise of subsidizing a diminished-intellect is preposterous


As for me, I can’t stand anything written by Homer. Odysseus was a DOUCHEBAG.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m a credentialed Shakespearean fanatic with the diplomas to prove it, but I can’t stand Troilus and Cressida. Bbllleeechgh!

[Edited to add: Homer was a god. The Iliad and The Odyssey are marvels.]

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

For me, I’m fine with most classic literature novels. Some I enjoyed much better than others, but at least I got a gist of the plot.

When it came to poetry, particularly in a classroom setting, some of it eludes me, particularly anything by Emily Dickinson. Class discussions and instructor’s explanations never helped. I reread some her poems last year from an old college books with hand written notes in the margins, and I still don’t get it.

ddude1116's avatar

@Blondesjon I haven’t read Animal Farm.. I was disappointed with 1984 and have been deterred from reading it. I should, though, it seems significantly different.
@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard It just doesn’t make sense that all of mankind could fall under the trap of brainwashing, unless you account for some possibilities that weren’t touched upon in the novel, such as the time in which it takes place and the size of Oceania. It just seemed that Orwell was so determined to frighten us that he overlooked those details.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Of Mice and Men. I hated that fucking book; it’s so depressing!

Aethelflaed's avatar

Pride and Prejudiced. I do not understand why creating an interesting story and having something to say aren’t criteria for getting literary awards.

Anything by Steinbeck, Great Gatsby, really anything touted as “The Great American Novel.” Blech!

Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies, presumably because I didn’t read them when I was 14 and all angsty and whiny and where you find Holden to be brilliant instead of in need of an ass kicking.

Things Fall Apart. Omg, I want this book to die. Why is it so boring? Do Americans really need more reasons to not sympathize with the plight of Africa?

Gulliver’s Travels was just… I read A Modest Proposal first, so I kept thinking he’d be a great author, but it turns out, no, he just had one good thing.

RareDenver's avatar

I wouldn’t say I hated it but it was a difficult read, it took all my effort to persevere and finish Crime & Punishment

Joker94's avatar

@ddude1116 Ah, but if it were too realistic, it wouldn’t be a very good satire, would it? Either way, the idea of a country being brainwashed isn’t unheard of. It’s happened before, and still does to an extent.

tranquilsea's avatar

Aw @RareDenver I just recently read Crime and Punishment and I love it. It is actually my current favourite book.

I have yet to read a classic I hate. They all have place.

ddude1116's avatar

@Joker94 It was a decent satire. And every time ‘brainwashing has happened, it ended up self-destructing because the economy couldn’t support itself and imploded. And Oceania was to such an extent that all the money spent on brainwashing its citizens and manufacturing supplies for a fake military which were all promptly discarded brings in no revenue. So their costs outweigh their gains, and Big Brother falls from his own ignorance because ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’ American proverb.
@Aethelflaed Catcher In the Rye is one of those great books based around a character who’s just a whiny little bitch when it all comes down to it. But, hey, at least he’s supposed to be writing it from a Mental Institution.
@RareDenver I noticed that with The Idiot, also by Dostoevski. I never managed to get very far in it, though…

Aethelflaed's avatar

@ddude1116 Yeah, I think that now I’m not an adolescent, I’m in the “I don’t need 325 pages telling me adolescence sucks” camp. I probably would have loved it had I read it when I was a teen.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Madame Bovary

incendiary_dan's avatar

I am not a fan of Huck Finn, despite being a fan of Twain in general.

ddude1116's avatar

@Aethelflaed I loved it when I first read it, in eighth grade, so being an adolescent definitely has a lot to do with whether or not you’ll like it.

Porifera's avatar

There are quite a few…but these three come to mind:
The Canterbury Tales
Waiting for Godot (Beckett)
Prufrock (TS Eliot)

Zaku's avatar

Dandelion Wine

King_Pariah's avatar

Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Letter… and everything else written by Hawthorne, Ivanhoe, Romeo and Juliet, The Jungle… that’s all that I can think of that I despise because they bore me to death.

And I hate with every fiber of my being Steppenwolf… but I love it as well.


Edith Wharton’s “The House of Mirth”. It’s so boring!!

Also “The Red Badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane. Yeech!

If high school teachers want to instil the appreciation of classic literature in their students, why do they insist on teaching these two pieces of dry reading to kids?!

dappled_leaves's avatar

Wuthering Heights. whine, whine, whine, bitch, bitch, bitch, moan, moan, moan.

Porifera's avatar


Earthgirl's avatar

Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway Just plain boring!!!

Seelix's avatar

Heart of Darkness. Worst. Book. Ever. I had to read it three times in school. Apocalypse Now is an awesome movie, but HoD is terrible.

The Canterbury Tales
Things Fall Apart
Wide Sargasso Sea
Boring. Boring. Boring.

Kardamom's avatar

I absolutely loved Great Expectations and every other book that I’ve read by Charles Dickens. LOL.

I’m with @Seelix on Heart of Darkness. God that was awful and boring and depressing.

We started Pilgrim’s Progress but never got through it. I don’t recall if our teacher just abandoned it, or only assigned us a small portion of it, knowing full well how long and boring it was.

I only recently read Wuthering Heights and I loved the way in which the dialogue was written, I was spellbound, not in a good way, but kind of like how you are drawn in to look at a car wreck. Dreadful people doing dreadful things to nice, naive people. Yick! I mean who digs up their dead girlfriend, pokes a hole in her casket, just so that they can ooze into her coffin after they’re dead too?

Fly's avatar

Lord of the Flies. I thought it was just awful. I had to read it in eleventh grade honors English, only to discover that it was at the reading level of a second grader. I mean really, a five-year-old could have pointed out the blatant symbolism, and the plot was frankly more along the lines of some kind of a perverted mesh between a soap opera and an action movie than one that I would expect from “classic literature.”

Also, The Great Gatsby. The writing style of F. Scott Fitzgerald was one that just did not appeal to me in any way. He droned on and on for pages about absolutely nothing, and it essentially became a chore to read. It also was very soap opera-esque and I found it to be all too dramatic.

@blackberry How could you have possibly hated To Kill a Mockingbird?! I was not a fan the first time that I tried to read it because I was frankly too young to appreciate it. But the second time around, I absolutely loved it!

I also loved George Orwell’s 1984…just saying.

linguaphile's avatar

HEY guys…... A question from a literature teacher who has been wincing throughout this thread…

How many of you think that you hate what you named because the teacher did not show you ways to appreciate it or taught it in a boring way? Do you think you’d have disliked it as much if the teacher had taught it in a different way?

Joker94's avatar

Quite a few Wuthering Heights out there. I hope I never run into it…
@Seelix I’m disappointed to hear that HoD wasn’t that good, I really enjoyed Apocalypse Now.
@Earthgirl I read the first couple pages of that, and regretted not finishing the rest. What about it was boring?
@linguaphile The way we’re taught the book has an impact, sure, but there are some books that will never be appreciated by everyone. I don’t think a soul alive could have made me enjoy Great Expecations, for example. Most of the issues I have with required reading stem from how uninteresting some of the things we read can be. I can appreciate some literature for what it was, or is, but that doesn’t mean I’ll always like it.

linguaphile's avatar

@Joker94 I agree… there’s nothing that will make me like some books—“Bonfire of the Vanities” and “Sound and Fury” are two. I despise everything about those books, so I understand.

However, like I said, I’m a literature teacher, so I wonder about presentation often. I have a pretty good track record going for having kids fall in love with literature that’s usually disliked, so it’s disappointing to see some of these stories named as hated. It just makes me wonder, if the teacher had made it more interesting and relevant, or explained the story in a way that caught the student’s attention, would these stories be disliked?

I took a challenge recently to teach “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” to two adults who utterly despised the poem. By the middle of the poem, they loved it. I hold a strong opinion that literature is meant to be shared and discussed—and must be relevant to the reader to be interesting, so I make it a huge part of my job as a teacher to make what I teach relevant.

RareDenver's avatar

I’m glad to see that Thomas Hardy isn’t mentioned here. Now that could be for one of two reasons. Everyone loves Thomas Hardy or no one has read Thomas Hardy.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@linguaphile : Your point is really valid, and I thought of that years ago and went back and read a bunch of those “most hated” in my late 30s. My great surprise? Jane Eyre. Loved it as a grown-up. Still couldn’t do Moby Dick, and damn, I tried. I’ll enjoy wading through some others that I was neutral on after this thread. I still find so much of Steinbeck depressing, it takes a different mood to read his stuff.

@RareDenver : I loved Hardy then, I’ll have to see how I feel now!

Porifera's avatar

@RareDenver Sure, sure…Hardy…who can forget Tess.

What about Yeats? His works gave me a headache….couldn’t understand a thing.

I think that when you have to read books on a Lit. course to take an exam it becomes a bit of a nuisance and it takes the fun out of it. Thebest way to determine if you like or don;t like a book is doing it as leisure reading.

RareDenver's avatar

@Porifera true I remember studying Buffalo Soldier in music and grew to hate a song I previously loved. Nothing like picking something apart to ruin it’s joy for you. Now 20 years later I can listen to it again without groaning

Earthgirl's avatar

linguaphile I totally agree with the idea that understanding and appreciating certain books (and art) is easier and you get more out of it when you learn what the author is trying to say and where they are coming from. I also think it can help you understand a book better sometimes it you place the author in their historical milieux. What was going on in politics, societal changes and what philosophical debates raging? It makes you more aware as you read and then you see things you may otherwise have missed. It’s great to hear that you can make your students more engaged in what they are reading and like it more.
Some aesthetic theories put the burden of appreciation on the viewer/reader. But there are others that think that it’s the author/artist’s responsibility to make themselves understood. I like to suspend my critical mind for the most part when I am reading fiction and give it the best chance possible to impress me, move me, and make me think. It may be the plot that impresses me, a great story told with detail, humor, pathos, drama. It might be the writing style and the authors way with words. Two things that impress me are authors that can get inside the character’s heads and give you their thoughts and feelings so convincingly that you feel you know them. They describe physical gestures that show personality and you can picture the person so clearly! We all know what those gestures and movements are but it is often so hard to describe it in a way that another person can picture it. Another thing I love is great dialog.
Joker94 It is such a short book, lol. You could probably read it in one sitting. Isn’t it telling that you couldn’t even finish it!? I was required to read it. I get what it’s all about but I found it so boring. (Did I mention that I thought it was boring?) Is it supposed to be some metaphor for life? He’s out there on the ocean all alone trying to hook this big fish, basically risking his life for it. He’s an old man and it matters so much to him. It is man against beast fish! Snoooore!!! Sorry, I didn’t like it at all. I just didn’t care what happened. I kept thinking “So what!!!?!!”
Anyone who liked the book I welcome you to try to change my mind. Maybe I’ll read it again. It was so long ago that I read it.

There are a lot of books listed here that I do like. I like Nathaniel Hawthorne.
I reread The Great Gatsby and Jane Eyre after a friend who is an English professor told me they were 2 of his favorite books. I liked them better and appreciated them more.
I also read Wuthering Heights after seeing the old movie made me curious about the whole story. The movie so whitewashed it. I can’t wait for the new movie version to come out. Now everyone is interested in it because it is Bella’s favorite book. Asking who is Bella? You obviously aren’t a Twilight fan!

SuperMouse's avatar

@linguaphile I do think the teacher who taught me The Scarlett Letter could have done a better job of making it accessible to my 16 year-old brain. All she seemed interested in was the symbolism (I know, I know, Hawthorne is all about symbolism) and not the story at all. What is interesting is that this same teacher did an awesome job with The Crucible and Julius Caesar. I can’t help but wonder if I like the Hawthorne short stories better because the teachers who presented them liked them more.

Also, I don’t think hate is a strong enough word to describe how I felt about The Bonfire of the Vanities! I read that back when I thought of not finishing a book as heresy and it took me months and months and months to slog my way through it.

@Seelix did you read Heart of Darkness before or after seeing Apocalypse Now?

Blondesjon's avatar

@SuperMouse . . . Don’t give up on Wolfe just because of Bonfire.

A Man In Full and The Right Stuff are amazing reads.

shrubbery's avatar

I hate Ulysses just because I couldn’t get past like 5 pages.

I would have hated The Crucible in school if we hadnt paired it with the movie Goodnight, and Good Luck. That made it way more interesting to me.

I think I’m one of those weird people who like classics more when studying them. I liked Hamlet in general but I hated the character Hamlet. Whiny little bitch.

martianspringtime's avatar

I hated (hated) Pride and Prejudice. I’d been expecting to really like it, and I was really excited to be assigned to read it for a class I took. I started ahead of the class, but never made it past a little more than halfway through.
I was unimpressed by Great Expectations, too.

I plan to reread Great Expectations – I only got about halfway through that, and I did find it sort of tedious, but I was vaguely interested in the story. I don’t think I’ll ever reattempt Pride and Prejudice because even after half a book, seeing the movie, and reading a variety of summaries, I hate it.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@martianspringtime I’m so with you. I just do not get the attraction to Pride and Prejudice.

CraigK's avatar

I despise all fictional literature. It was a trait I acquired in high school. Poe, Shakespeare, Thoreau, Twain, was all a big waste of time and effort.

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