The Life And Works Of Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

The Life And Works Of Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. His ancestors were Puritans, among which included William Hathorne. He was a strong defender of his faith and took part in the persecution of the Quakers during the seventeenth century. Hawthorne added the w to the family name himself, by the way. William Hathorne s son, John, was a judge at the Salem witch trials. Hawthorne was left to take care of his grievous mother at four-years-old because his father passed away early in his life. He was alone throughout most of his childhood years. He believed that all the misfortunes of his family were because of all his ancestors sins. His dark views of human nature are reflected in his work.Hawthorne began to write while he was in school at Bowdoin College. After he graduated, he went back home to his mother in Salem and passed a twelve-year literary apprenticeship. While he was there, in 1828, he wrote some early pieces. One specific novel was Fanshawe: A Tale, but later he withdrew it from circulation and burned every available copy. During the early 1830s, many of his pieces came out in The Token. That was an annual anthology published by Samuel Goodrich. Goodrich played a major role in developing Hawthorne s career by naming him editor of the American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge in 1836. He also arranged for Hawthorne s first collection of short stories, Twice- Told Tales, one year later in 1837. From 1839 to 1840, Hawthorne was employed as a salt and coal measurer in the Boston Custom House. Later on, he held the position of Surveyor in the Salem Custom House from 1846 to 1849. However, he was dismissed abruptly from his position when Zachary Taylor s administration came to power. This left him poor, but free to fully devote himself to writing.Though his first collection of short stories, Twice-Told Tales, was highly praised by critics, it didn t sell much. Even his enlarged edition, issued in 1842, did no better. The critics continued to appreciate his work and the public continued to neglect it throughout his literary career, and that was the reason for him holding those minor governmental posts. He simply needed more income. He didn t stay down long, though. After his trouble with money and the death of his mother, Hawthorne began the novel, The Scarlet Letter. This novel brought him recognition and financial security. Critics still acknowledge The Scarlet Letter as being his greatest achievement and many praise the novel s structure and symbolism, despite how his Salem neighbors resented the introduction, taking it to be criticism of their community. It has all the best characteristics of his earlier novels and short stories. In the next several years, Hawthorne wrote The House of the Seven Gables (1851), and The Blithedale Romance. These two works were based on his experience at Brook Farm and dealt specifically with the vanity of human pride. He wrote the last of his novels during his three years in England and two in Italy. These included The Marble Faun ;or, The Romance of Monte Beni, written in 1860.In 1852, Hawthorne wrote a campaign biography for Franklin Pierce who later appointed him consul to Liverpool. The books he wrote during his three-year-stay in England and his two in Italy received generally good reviews. Although most of his work has natural, almost subtle, structure, language, and symbolism, this one appeared to some critics to be put together poorly. Hawthorne s most plentiful period of short story production included two of his most highly regarded works, Young Goodman Brown and Roger Malvin s Burial. These were written in the July of 1842. During the last years of Hawthorne s life, his creativity declined as well as his health. He continued to write, but he struggled with themes of ancestral sin and mortality. He was unable to translate his thoughts into fiction. His work during his last years show little of what he was capable of at healthy times in his life.Hawthorne s literary style has had a big influence on the development of short fiction in the United States during the nineteenth century. He is regarded as one of the main builders of the modern American short story. His novels set the standard for psychological realism for generations of writers. After The Scarlet Letter, scholars described his handling of the pairs defiance of the Puritan community s laws of behavior as one of literature s most powerful examples of the theme of the individual versus society. He brought out the moral concerns of our American background today and figured out the spiritual history of our nation, then and now. He is still considered to be among the greatest American authors today.Works Cited Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Discovering Biography.

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