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Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Nathaniel Hawthorne

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  1. Nathaniel Hawthorne “I am always so dazzled and bewildered with the richness, the depth, the ... jewels of beauty in his productions that I am always looking forward to a second reading where I can ponder and muse and fully take in the miraculous wealth of thoughts.” -Sophia Hawthorne January 14, 1851

  2. Nathaniel Hawthorne 1804-1864 • Born in Salem, Massachusetts • Puritan Background • Ancestor of John Hathorne – one of the three judges in the Salem Witch Trials • Hawthorne carried the guilt of his Puritan ancestry throughout his life

  3. Hawthorne’s Background • Began writing after college at Bowdoin College in Maine • Spent many years in seclusion – starving artist • Held many jobs including writer, publisher, working at a custom house, and consul in England

  4. More Background • Married Sophie Peabody in 1825 (Peabody family were big supporters of his work) • Sophie was the Peabody family’s youngest daughter • Moved from his mother’s home to Concord, MA to a home known as “The Old Manse”

  5. More Background • This was the happiest time in Hawthorne’s life, even though he was still relatively unknown • Was friends with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, and President Franklin Pierce

  6. More Background • Of Emerson, thought he was truly a brilliant thinker • Of Thoreau, thought he was kind of a goof, but admired him • Of Melville, found a fellow author who shared his perspective on the pessimistic view of man’s capabilities

  7. More Background • Hawthorne struggled with the idea of having to support a family through his work. Constant struggle between the life of an unpaid writer and a provider to his family • In last years of his life, Hawthorne became a household name and money was no longer scarce

  8. His Themes in Writing • Moral allegories • The sinful man • Hypocrisy • The Dark side of Human Nature • Religious in Nature

  9. His Most Famous Works • Novels • The House of Seven Gables • The Scarlet Letter • Short Stories • “The Minister’s Black Veil” • “Young Goodman Brown”

  10. Was Hawthorne a Romantic? • Focused on the natural setting • Uses setting to physically position characters • Character traits can be identified by setting characters spend most time in • Contemplated deeper questions of purpose and society • Did take on the alternative/pessimistic view that man was not always “good”

  11. Hawthorne’s Legacy • Despite his life of writing, Hawthorne will be remembered for his masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter • Hawthorne is viewed as the pessimistic romantic writer • Despite his desire to separate himself from it, he will always be tied to his Puritan ancestry