Nathaniel Hawthorne Research Paper

Nathaniel Hawthorne Research Paper-83
Westervelt is one type; sophisticated and learned in mesmerism, he takes as his victim the innocent Priscilla.

Westervelt is one type; sophisticated and learned in mesmerism, he takes as his victim the innocent Priscilla.

Probably begun while Hawthorne was enrolled at Bowdoin, the novel has as its setting Harley College, a picturesque, secluded institution.

Formal classroom tutoring is not the novel’s central interest, however, just as it was not in Hawthorne’s own life; nor is the novel completely a roman à clef in which actual people and places are thinly disguised.

For the last ten years, I have not lived, but only dreamed about living.” For Hawthorne, Sophia was his salvation, his link to human companionship.

Perhaps that is why he wrote so evocatively of Hester Prynne’s isolation; indeed, Hester’s difficult task of rearing the elfin child Pearl without help from Dimmesdale is the obverse of Hawthorne’s own happy domestic situation.

as a place “somewhere between the real world and fairy-land, where the Actual and the Imaginary may meet, and each imbue itself with the nature of the other.” A romance, according to Hawthorne, is different from the novel, which maintains a “minute fidelity . Thus, for example, while certain elements—the stigma of the scarlet letter, or Donatello’s faun ears—are fantastical in conception, they represent a moral stance that is true to nature.

to the probable and ordinary course of man’s experience.” In the neutral territory of romance, however, the author may make use of the “marvellous” to heighten atmospheric effects, if he or she also presents “the truth of the human heart.” As long as the writer of romance creates characters whose virtues, vices, and sensibilities are distinctly human, he or she may place them in an environment that is out of the ordinary—or, that is, in fact, allegorical.Dimmesdale’s guilt at concealing his adultery with Hester Prynne is, indeed, as destructive as the wound on his breast, and Donatello’s pagan nature is expressed in the shape of his ears. These repetitions show Hawthorne’s emphasis on the effects of events on the human heart rather than on the events themselves. becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief.” For Hawthorne, then, the past must be reckoned with, and then put aside; the eventual decay of aristocratic families is not only inevitable, but desirable.One common motif is concern for the past, or, as Hawthorne says in the preface to , his “attempt to connect a bygone time with the very present that is flitting away from us.” Hawthorne’s interest in the Puritan past was perhaps sparked by his “discovery,” as a teenager, of his Hathorne connections; it was certainly influenced by his belief that progress was impeded by inheritance, that “the wrong-doing of one generation lives into the successive ones, and . Hawthorne’s understanding of tradition is illustrated in many of his works.Such a set of recurring themes is bolstered by a pervasive character typology.Although literary works such as those by Edmund Spenser, John Milton, William Shakespeare, and John Bunyan form the historical context for many of Hawthorne’s characters, many are further developments of his own early character types.The essay is thus a distillation of the practical and the imaginative.It includes scant praise for the unimaginative William Lee, the antediluvian permanent inspector whose commonplace attitude typified for Hawthorne the Customs operation.The fact that Fanshawe should rescue Ellen, appearing like Milton’s Raphael over the thickly wooded valley where Butler has secluded her, suggests that he is able to enter the world of action; but that he should refuse her offer of marriage, saying, “I have no way to prove that I deserve your generosity, but by refusing to take advantage of it,” is uncharacteristic in comparison with Hawthorne’s later heroes such as Holgrave and Kenyon.It may be that after his marriage to Sophia, Hawthorne could not conceive of a triangle existing when two “soul mates” had found each other, for in similar character configurations in is a precursor to the later novels, as well as an unformulated precedent for Hawthorne’s famous definition of romance.In writing, however, Hawthorne exorcised his spleen at his political dismissal that, coupled with charges of malfeasance, was instigated by the Whigs who wanted him replaced; as Arlin Turner comments, “The decapitated surveyor, in becoming a character in a semifictional account, had all but ceased to be Hawthorne.” The writer, in short, had made fiction out of his business experiences.He also had speculated about the preconceptions necessary for the creator of romances; such a man, he decided, must be able to perceive the “neutral territory” where the “actual” and the “imaginary” meet. In the prefatory essay to the book, Hawthorne establishes the literalism of the scarlet letter, which, he says, he has in his possession as an old, faded, tattered remnant of the past.

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