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Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne

❶A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Custom House in Salem contains exhibits on the tools of the Custom Service , the work of the Customs inspectors, and the office of Nathaniel Hawthorne , the famous American author whose three-year-long stint in the Salem Custom House inspired his classic novel, The Scarlet Letter.

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

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by Nathaniel Hawthorne

He worked at the Boston Custom House and joined Brook Farm , a transcendentalist community, before marrying Peabody in The Scarlet Letter was published in , followed by a succession of other novels. A political appointment as consul took Hawthorne and family to Europe before their return to Concord in Hawthorne died on May 19, , and was survived by his wife and their three children.

Much of Hawthorne's writing centers on New England , many works featuring moral metaphors with an anti- Puritan inspiration. His fiction works are considered part of the Romantic movement and, more specifically, dark romanticism. His themes often center on the inherent evil and sin of humanity, and his works often have moral messages and deep psychological complexity. His published works include novels, short stories, and a biography of his college friend Franklin Pierce , the 14th President of the United States.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, , in Salem , Massachusetts; his birthplace is preserved and open to the public. He was a Puritan and was the first of the family to emigrate from England, settling in Dorchester, Massachusetts before moving to Salem. There he became an important member of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and held many political positions, including magistrate and judge, becoming infamous for his harsh sentencing.

Hawthorne probably added the "w" to his surname in his early twenties, shortly after graduating from college, in an effort to dissociate himself from his notorious forebears. Young Hawthorne was hit on the leg while playing "bat and ball" on November 10, , [9] and he became lame and bedridden for a year, though several physicians could find nothing wrong with him.

In the summer of , the family lived as boarders with farmers [11] before moving to a home recently built specifically for them by Hawthorne's uncles Richard and Robert Manning in Raymond, Maine , near Sebago Lake. The homemade newspaper was written by hand and included essays, poems, and news featuring the young author's adolescent humor.

Hawthorne's uncle Robert Manning insisted that the boy attend college, despite Hawthorne's protests. I was educated as the phrase is at Bowdoin College. I was an idle student, negligent of college rules and the Procrustean details of academic life, rather choosing to nurse my own fancies than to dig into Greek roots and be numbered among the learned Thebans. As he looked back on this period of his life, he wrote: Horatio Bridge offered to cover the risk of collecting these stories in the spring of into the volume Twice-Told Tales , which made Hawthorne known locally.

While at Bowdoin, Hawthorne wagered a bottle of Madeira wine with his friend Jonathan Cilley that Cilley would get married before Hawthorne did. He had public flirtations with Mary Silsbee and Elizabeth Peabody , [27] then he began pursuing Peabody's sister, illustrator and transcendentalist Sophia Peabody.

He joined the transcendentalist Utopian community at Brook Farm in , not because he agreed with the experiment but because it helped him save money to marry Sophia. His neighbor Ralph Waldo Emerson invited him into his social circle, but Hawthorne was almost pathologically shy and stayed silent at gatherings. Like Hawthorne, Sophia was a reclusive person. Throughout her early life, she had frequent migraines and underwent several experimental medical treatments.

The Hawthornes enjoyed a long and happy marriage. He referred to her as his "Dove" and wrote that she "is, in the strictest sense, my sole companion; and I need no other—there is no vacancy in my mind, any more than in my heart Thank God that I suffice for her boundless heart!

She wrote in one of her journals:. I am always so dazzled and bewildered with the richness, the depth, the Poet Ellery Channing came to the Old Manse for help on the first anniversary of the Hawthornes' marriage. A local teenager named Martha Hunt had drowned herself in the river and Hawthorne's boat Pond Lily was needed to find her body.

Hawthorne helped recover the corpse, which he described as "a spectacle of such perfect horror She was the very image of death-agony". The Hawthornes had three children. Their first was daughter Una, born March 3, ; her name was a reference to The Faerie Queene , to the displeasure of family members. There is no escaping it any longer. I have business on earth now, and must look about me for the means of doing it. Hawthorne wrote to his sister Louisa on June 22, I am trying to resume my pen Whenever I sit alone, or walk alone, I find myself dreaming about stories, as of old; but these forenoons in the Custom House undo all that the afternoons and evenings have done.

I should be happier if I could write. This employment, like his earlier appointment to the custom house in Boston, was vulnerable to the politics of the spoils system. Hawthorne was a Democrat and lost this job due to the change of administration in Washington after the presidential election of He wrote a letter of protest to the Boston Daily Advertiser which was attacked by the Whigs and supported by the Democrats, making Hawthorne's dismissal a much-talked about event in New England.

Hawthorne returned to writing and published The Scarlet Letter in mid-March , [49] including a preface that refers to his three-year tenure in the Custom House and makes several allusions to local politicians—who did not appreciate their treatment.

Lawrence said that there could be no more perfect work of the American imagination than The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne and his family moved to a small red farmhouse near Lenox, Massachusetts at the end of March Hawthorne's time in the Berkshires was very productive. They left on November 21, I have felt languid and dispirited, during almost my whole residence.

In May , the Hawthornes returned to Concord where they lived until July Finally, the preface serves as means of authenticating the novel by explaining that Hawthorne had discovered in the Salem Custom House the faded scarlet A and the parchment sheets that contained the historical manuscript on which the novel is based. However, we know of no serious, scholarly work that suggests Hawthorne was ever actually in possession of the letter or the manuscript.

This technique, typical of the narrative conventions of his time, serves as a way of giving his story an air of historic truth. Furthermore, Hawthorne, in his story, "Endicott and the Red Cross," published nine years before he took his Custom House position, described the incident of a woman who, like Hester Prynne, was forced to wear a letter A on her breast.

Removing book from your Reading List will also remove any bookmarked pages associated with this title. Are you sure you want to remove bookConfirmation and any corresponding bookmarks? The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne. After she is released from prison, Hester remains in Boston because. Adam Bede has been added to your Reading List! Although this narrator seems to have much in common with Nathaniel Hawthorne himself—Hawthorne also worked as a customs officer, lost his job due to political changes, and had Puritan ancestors whose legacy he considered both a blessing and a curse—it is important not to conflate the two storytellers.

The narrator is not just a stand-in for Hawthorne; he is carefully constructed to enhance the book aesthetically and philosophically. Moreover, Hawthorne sets him up to parallel Hester Prynne in significant ways. Like Hester, the narrator spends his days surrounded by people from whom he feels alienated.

In his case, it is his relative youth and vitality that separates him from the career customs officers. The narrator points out the connection between Hester and himself when he notes that he will someday be reduced to a name on a custom stamp, much as she has been reduced to a pile of old papers and a scrap of cloth. First, he feels that his Puritan ancestors would find it frivolous, and indeed he is not able to write until he has been relieved of any real career responsibilities.

Second, he knows that his audience will be small, mostly because he is relating events that happened some two hundred years ago. His time spent in the company of the other customhouse men has taught the narrator that it will be difficult to write in such a way as to make his story accessible to all types of people—particularly to those no longer young at heart.

The narrator finds writing therapeutic. Take the The Custom-House: The Scarlet Letter by: Introductory to The Scarlet Letter Chapter 1: The Prison Door Chapter 2: The Marketplace Chapter 3: The Recognition Chapter 4:

The Scarlet Letter

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A summary of The Custom-House: Introductory in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Scarlet Letter and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.

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The Custom-House marker imprinted it, with a stencil and black paint, on pepper-bags, and baskets of anatto, and cigar-boxes, and bales of all kinds of dutiable merchandise, in testimony that these commodities had paid the impost, and gone regularly through the office.

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The Custom House is largely an autobiographical sketch describing Hawthorne's life as an administrator of the Salem Custom House. It was written to enlarge the tale of The Scarlet Letter, since Hawthorne deemed the story too short to print by itself. In , he quit the Custom House for a more interesting experiment. Hawthorne agreed to purchase a $ share in a new utopian community in West Roxbury, Massachusetts named Brook Farm.

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In "The Custom-House," we find out that our narrator is the chief executive officer of the Salem Custom-House sometime during the mids). His account is a mixture of fact and fiction and loosely follows the story of how Hawthorne himself came to write The Scarlet Letter. A Custom House is a governmental building situated near a port or a wharf. Furthermore, Hawthorne, in his story, "Endicott and the Red Cross," published nine years before he took his Custom House position, described the incident of a woman who, like Hester Prynne, was forced to wear a letter A on her breast.