Nathaniel Hawthorne's: the Artist of the Beautiful

Topics: Short story, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Birth-Mark Pages: 3 (1125 words) Published: December 14, 2011
As put by Gloria Ehrlich in Nathaniel Hawthorne: A Study of the Short Fiction, “At the time of writing, Nathaniel Hawthorne was facing the impracticality of his literary vocation as the economic support for his growing family” (Bunge 46). Nathaniel Hawthorne felt misunderstood as an artist and used his story The Artist of the Beautiful to represent what he was going through.   In the Artist of the Beautiful Owen Warland has a love and need for beauty, where is everyone else feels the need for objects to be useful.  As one critic mentioned, “Warland has a disinterested search for the beautiful against the criteria of utility and self-interest assumed by society” (Fogle 70).   Owen does not feel need to create something for a purpose other than it being delicate, and gently crafted, and all of society thinks he is insane for making trinkets with no use.  A crucial scene in the story is when upon receiving the butterfly Annie asks Owen if it is alive only with Danforth to respond “Do you suppose any mortal has skill enough to make a butterfly, or would put himself to the trouble of making one, when any child may catch a score of them in a summer’s afternoon?” (Hawthorne 174).  Robert just assumed that it had to be a real butterfly because he does not understand why anyone would go to all of the effort of creating something that they could easily just go and catch without any trouble, but making the butterfly brought great joy to Owen because he loves that he is able to make beautiful things, and the process that goes into making it.  Owen does not need a reason to make things except for the simple purpose of being able to make something extraordinary and pleasing to the eye.  Owen was sent to a watchmaker by his family to put some of his gift to good use, but while working under Peter Hovenden rather than repairing clocks he instead did things such as make them play music at each hour.  Just as Hawthorne said “He had always been remarkable for his delicate...
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