Setting: The Birthplace of “Feathertop”
Many times in life acting upon jealousy usually backfires. So when a jealous witch in a seventeenth-century town in New England started “making a scarecrow,” you start to piece things together and things don’t seem like they will turn out right (Hawthorne 1). And thus begins the short story, “Feathertop”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Using archaic word choice, wicked words, and talking about things that were popular in the seventeenth-century, Nathaniel Hawthorne used setting to convey the idea that wickedness was a common thing in those times and most often provoked jealousy.
As this rather long short story plays on, Hawthorne used the word “Dickon” in reference to the devil (Hawthorne 1). With Hawthorne using this archaic dialect in is writing we can base the setting to around the seventeenth-century using “‘Thomas Blout’s Glossographia(1656) for the speculation that “dickens” is a corruption of “devilkins” i. little devils; as tis usually said, the dickens take you.’” (Turner 444). Hawthorne also uses the word “hobgoblin” that probably gates back to the same time period as “dickens” (Hawthorne 1). The same also applies to Hawthorne’s use of yonder in the story (Hawthorne3). According to Turner, Hawthorn isn’t mistaken while using this dialect which supports the conclusion that the setting takes place in seventeenth-century New England and that the archaic dialect is not being used out of its context.
Another aspect of the setting is the naming of things that were commonly used in the seventeenth century as a “[coal] pipe” which is used to keep Feathertop alive (Hawthorne 2). Another thing was the looking glass. Calling it a “looking glass” can sometimes show that the mirror is either bewitched or enchanted (13). In the literary criticism, “An old looking glass. Somebody finds out the secret of making all of the images that have been reflected in it pass back again on the surface,” it shows that a looking glass is an...
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