In the early nineteenth century during the Romanticism period, Nathaniel Hawthorne became famous for his novels and short stories that mirrored the dark image of the world. His works became a huge contribution to the modern world of American Literature and now have been given its proper recognition for more than a century. Much of Hawthorne's perspective on life could possibly be linked to his history that gave him a sense of inherited guilt. Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Hawthorne was descended from a prominent Puritan family (Prentice Hall 334) which resulted in growing up in the Puritan way of life. After his father died Hawthorne discovered journals that his father had written as a sailor over the years. Hawthorne showed an immediate interest which gave him his first spark of inspiration to become a writer.
It was not uncommon for Hawthorne to write on what seemed like a religious Puritan obligation to reveal one who was manifested by evil forces or dealt with witchcraft or the struggle for liberation from English rule (Magill:1 1141). Repetitions of these themes were found in some of his earliest works. As they did for his Puritan ancestors, sin and guilt preoccupied Hawthorne.
Frequently the protagonists show negative attitudes toward their loved ones in Hawthorne's stories, such as, Parson Hooper of "The Minister's Black Veil" and Reuben Bourne of "Roger Malvin's Burial" (Magill:1 1142). These are examples of guilt-ridden and faithless men that express somewhat the character of Hawthorne in the sense of his gloomy vision of human affairs and that the dominant force of the world is evil.
After marrying Sophia Amelia Peabody in 1842, Hawthorne began work on his more famous novels that shaped his literary style, as well as the genres of the romance novel and short story. "Hawthorne conveyed modern themes of psychology and human nature through his crafty use of allegory and symbolism" (Fitzgerald). During the time period in which Hawthorne wrote, books...
Cited: Fitzgerald, Sheila, ed. Short Story Criticism. vol.4.
"Hawthorne, Nathaniel (1804-1864)." UXL Junior DISCovering Authors. Online
ed. Detroit: UXL, 2003. Discovering Collection. Thomson Gale. South Cobb High School Lib., Austell, Ga. 22 February 2007 .
Magill, Frank N., ed. Magill 's survey of American Literature.
Hackensack, NJ: Salem, 2001
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