His mother then brought her son and two daughters to live with her own family, the Mannings. From toHawthorne was a student at Bowdoin College, graduating in the middle of his class of thirty-eight. From the Scottish philosophers, he absorbed the concepts of faculty psychology which would recur in his fiction: Three classmates would become lifelong friends—Bridge who helped arrange publication of his first bookLongfellow who reviewed itand Pierce who became President of the United States and appointed Hawthorne Consul to Liverpool.
American fiction has changed greatly since his time. Popular twentieth and twenty-first century novelists make Hawthorne seem sententious and tedious, like some elderly relative who dominates the dinner-table conversation.
He is weak in dramatic construction; he avoids confrontations where confrontations seem obviously called for, as in the case of Arthur Dimmesdale and Roger Chillingworth at the conclusion of The Scarlet Letter.
Hawthorne has no qualms about stopping his narrative to present long descriptions of trees, flowers, streams, clouds, sunsets, houses, streets, pedestrians, and so forth. He lived at a time when photography was in its infancy and there was no way of reproducing photographs in books or magazines.
One of the principal characters in The House of the Seven Gables earns his living by making daguerreotypes, a primitive form of black-and-white photography. Modern readers, who are saturated with mass media, have lost the ability to appreciate such detailed verbal descriptions and have a tendency to skip over them in order to get on with the story.
They often seem impossibly noble or totally sinister to readers who are accustomed to more subtle characterization in fiction. Mark Twain, the great American novelist, short-story writer, and humorist, sounded the death knell for this kind of writing—at least in the United States—by producing novels such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finnin which the characters talk like real people and are actuated by credible human motivations.
Hawthorne is important as the founding father of genuine American literature—as opposed to the transplanted English literature that flourished on the North American continent before his time.
Additionally, Hawthorne is important because of the influence he had on his successors, particularly in terms of theme and subject matter.
He was the first American fiction writer to portray the color and drama in ordinary American life, so later writers such as Sherwood Anderson, Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, and William Faulkner—in fact, all succeeding American writers—are deeply indebted to him.
Through his dedication to his craft, Hawthorne showed his successors how to be American writers and not English men of letters living in exile. In practical terms, Hawthorne proved to American writers that they could compete with the more sophisticated English writers for the dollars readers paid for books.
His works might be called an artistic declaration of independence.
In the long run, Hawthorne may be regarded as an important writer primarily because of his interest in human psychology and his explorations—daring at the time—of the dark side of human consciousness. Prior to Hawthorne, the function of literature was considered to be to elevate the human spirit.
This is the area of human consciousness that Hawthorne was exploring before Freud was even born. Hawthorne approached it in a guarded way; that is why his works are so full of allegory and symbolism.
Modern authors such as horror writer Stephen King have no such qualms. Hawthorne lived and died before the English naturalist Charles Darwin published his theory, now generally accepted, that the human race is descended from an apelike animal.
In his refined and genteel way, Hawthorne opened up a whole new world of human experience for his literary heirs to explore. His example led to a literature that was more honest in discussing human emotions and motivations.Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story 'Wakefield' proves why the author is an early master of the form.
Though brief, the story of a man who disappears from his own life for 20 years, only to return. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “Wakefield” exposes how family relationships suppress individual freedom in American society.
Furthermore, its central character Wakefield is the epitome of a conformist mind, awakening, and breaking free of the social construct, only to be haunted by his family ties, until he returns.
Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The magic trick: Using a classic story structure to get the backstory established and the action started “Dr.
Heidegger’s Experiment,” in addition to being a remarkably imaginative and entertaining story, is a great piece to return to as a writer when you need to streamline your structure.
Jan 09, · The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a dark tale about a young woman named Hester Prynne who is condemned by her village for having a child with another man. She is forced to wear a Scarlet Letter “A” on her clothing – signifying “adulteress.”.
Nathaniel Hawthorne ( ) Since the publication of The Scarlet Letter in , Nathaniel Hawthorne has been recognized as one of America’s most important writers, both a “romancer” who probed inner mysteries and a “realist” who assessed the American character and experience.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Birthmark', published in , is the story of a scientist who is obsessed with removing a birthmark from his wife's cheek.