Nathanial Hawthorne. Considered to be one of the greatest American writers of the 19th
century. But did you know that he hated portraits, and it is now thought that he was a
mild manic-depressive? Born in Salem, Massachusetts on July 4, 1804. A descendant of a
long puritan line of Hathorne's. His ancestry included his great-great grandfather, John
Hathorne who was a judge at the Salem witch trials 112 years before Nathanial was born.
Judge John Hathorne charged many with the crime of witchcraft,and condemned them to
their deaths. Nathanial was embaressed by this and changed the spelling of his last name
from Hathorne to Hawthorne. A Lot of his family history, life experiences and where he
lived influenced his writing greatly.
Hawthorne had a cousin, Susannah Ingersoll. When he was young, in Salem, he
would frequently visit her in her mansion, she lived there alone. The house had a secret
staircase and once had seven gables. This house, Nathanial visited in his youth, was his
inspiration for the house in his book " The House Of The Seven Gables". The story of The
House Of The Seven Gables streches over two centuries. It's the classic scenario of two
rival families, in this case the Pyncheons ( weathly aristocratic puritans) and the Maules
( humbler paupers). The story of these two families begins with Matthew Maule, who
owned a certain amount of land and built himself a hut to live in, in this new puritan
settlement. Maule was a hard working but obscure man, who was stubborn and protected
what was his. His rival arrived at the settlement about 30 to 40 years after Maule had
been there. Colonel Pyncheon, an ambicious and determined man, had a high position in
the town. It was said that Colonel Pyncheon was very much for the execution of those
who practiced witchcraft, and it was also said that he very strongly sought the
condemnation of Matthew Maule for being a wizard. Pyncheon did manage to have
Maule executed but not before Maule placed a curse on Pyncheon and his descendant s.
These were Maules exact words :
" God, God will give him blood to drink !"
Many of the characters in the book were influenced by actual people in and
during Nathanial's life. For example : Colonel Pyncheon was based on The Reverend
Wentworth Upham, a Minister and mayor of Salem. He wrote the books : Lecture's on
Withcraft and History of Witchcraft and Salem Village. The Maule name was derived
from Thomas Maule, a Quaker merchant living in Salem at the time of the trials. In
Nathanials American Notebooks he records that his great great grandfather Judge
Hathorne, the judge in the witch trials, injured a neighbor named English once, who
never forgave him. Yet English's daughter married Hathorne's son. In the same way, the
s of the Pyncheons and the Maules finally unite in marriage
at the end of the
story. The Pyncheon and the Maule who get married at the end are Phoebe and Holgrave.
Phoebe is a smiling, public young woman. Holgrave is a kind artist ( daguerreotypist )
and is also the last desendant of Thomas Maule ( this is revealed at the end of the story).It
is believed that his cousin, Susannah Ingersoll, was who he had in mind when creating
the character of Miss Hepzibah Pyncheon. There is also evidence that Hawthorne had
himself in mind when creating the character of Holgrave, and of his wife,Sophia Peabody
Hawthorne, when creating Phoebe.***( Include other examples of the evidence that
Ever since Hawthorne decided to become a writer he was determined to be a
success. He wrote for many years but none of his publications drew the attention
Hawthorne wanted. At the time he wrote the House of the Seven Gables, he had just
finished with The Scarlett Letter which had won him much fame. At this time
Hawthorne was preoocupied with his worth in America's literary...
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