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The Moving Finger' and 'the Hollow of the Three Hills

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The Moving Finger' and 'the Hollow of the Three Hills

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In the short stories ‘The Hollow of The Three Hills’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne and ‘The Moving Finger’ by Edith Wharton, the writers convey the theme of the supernatural through various techniques. Hawthorne’s story is more open about the supernatural and uses the setting and one of the main characters to portray the darkness of the poem and the abnormal elements of it. In Wharton’s story, the supernatural is more of an underlying element in contrast to Hawthorne’s story. Both short stories use symbolism to portray the different supernatural elements that they both contain.

‘The Hollow of The Three Hills’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne was written in 1830 and is a story about a young woman seeks the help of a withered hag to learn what has happened to her parents, husband and child whom she abandoned to commit sin, through the use of the witch’s supernatural abilities. Edith Wharton’s ‘The Moving Finger’ was written 79 years after ‘The Hollow of The Three Hills’ in 1909 and is about a man who has a painting of his much-loved wife that is cause for disturbance to his once-close friends. Wharton was certainly influenced by Hawthorne in his writing and both contain distinct supernatural references in their respective stories.

Hawthorne’s ‘The Hollow of The Three Hills’ employs the supernatural through the dark and mysterious setting of the story. The ‘strange old times’ full of ‘fantastic dreams’ where the ‘pale and troubled’ lady and the ‘withered crone’ meet immediately gives a sense of secrecy about the unnatural things they will do and creates a very discrete setting. The ‘green and sluggish water’ where at ‘midnight’ the ‘power of evil’ would ‘stand round the mantling pool’ gives a setting of darkness and that abnormal things occur at the ‘putrid waters’ that are considered to be forbidden. Furthermore, the ‘Hollow’ symbolizes emptiness and relates to the young lady who has left her family behind, this image of being at the bottom with the ‘dwarf pines’ surrounding...