David Swan

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 He is a young man embarking on a journey that will most likely shape the rest of his life. He has finished school and is in search of employment. Hawthorne places David Swan in a slightly secluded and scenic area off the side of a roadway. This quiet area, near a pond, is a tranquil place for David Swan to fall asleep. This environment simulates the blindness everyone has to their own existence and further exhibits what Hawthorne described in his opening paragraph when he stated, "There are innumerable other events-if such they may be called-which come close upon us, yet pass away without actual results, or even betraying their near approach, by the reflection of any light or shadow across our minds." Hawthorne uses setting as an allegory to the real world his readers inhabit. The quiet pool parallels hearth, home and a reader's own self image. Surrounding this semi-private glen is a road full of travelers. The roadway and the travelers represent life's journey and the people who enter and exit our lives. With this simple set-up Hawthorne manages to allegorize his themes of "the events which actually influence our course through life, and our final destiny." The story centers on the three parties that pass by David Swan as he sleeps. The first group could have bequeathed riches upon the young man but just at the moment when they might have conferred an inheritance they were called back to the road. The second party was a young woman who, had David Swan awakened, would have loved him. She would have also indirectly given him wealth and stability through her father's employment. The last group had malicious intent and would have robbed the young man had they not been distracted by sounds and movement in other areas of the wood. Each of these instances relates examples of what could have been had the young man been conscious and responsive. The events taking place in the center of the story continue the allegory of missed opportunities and blindness to fortune, as...
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