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Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)


In1850 Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter in order to: Disclose the drama of human suffering ... How specifically is The Scarlet Letter a Late Romantic text? ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
  • Writers, for better or worse,
  • are gods of their own universe
  • -- Neil LaBute, playwright (2004)

  • 1804 Born Nathaniel Hathorne in Salem, MA
    added the w when he was first published
  • Bowdoin College graduate, 1825
  • Related to William Hathorne (Winthrops era) and
    John Hathorne (character in The Crucible). He did
    not want to be associated with these men, hence
    the changing of his name to Hawthorne
  • Between the ages of 21-31 (1825-1835) he
    withdrew from the world. In his later life he
    referred to this time as his dark years, the
    period wherein he discovered his art.
  • 1836 married Sophia Peabody, a
    UtopianTranscendentalist. Of Sophia he wrote,
    she is, in the strictest sense, my sole
    companion and I need no otherthere is no
    vacancy in my mind, any more than in my heart..."

Hawthornes Content
  • The interior of the heart the world of his
    Imagination the place where sin and guilt
    reside a world of darkness, of secrets
  • T he drama of human suffering i.e. being human
    having to endure suffering
  • In1850 Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter in
    order to
  • Disclose the drama of human suffering
  • Expose the world and fallen humanity as
  • Illuminate characters living in a dark world
    burdened with post-Edenic sin and guilt

Hawthornes Style
  • Stylistic techniques
  • SYMBOLS (e.g. ray of sunshine)
  • MOTIFS (e.g. light/dark imagery)
  • JUXTAPOSITION of images
  • Where have you seen these techniques in the

  • How specifically is The Scarlet Letter a Late
    Romantic text? Where, if at all, do you see
    connections to Poes critical theories?
  • What is the view of Nature?
  • Where do you see examples of Mutability,
    Nebulosity/Mystery, Sentiment vs. Reason, etc.?

  • What is Hawthornes tone?
  • What is Hawthornes attitude toward the Puritans?
    What diction (word choice) establishes this
  • (To follow momentarily model presentation of
    chapter 1)

Beginning tomorrow
  • Graded in-class presentations, 4 chapters at a
    time. Will take place every day, concluding next
    Friday 11/21.
  • Four student presenters will be chosen at the
    beginning of each period. They will be
    responsible for teaching that days 4 chapters.
    Specific presentation guidelines will be posted
    online later today.
  • All presentations must follow todays chapter 1
    model presentation.
  • Chapters to be presented tomorrow 2, 3, 4 5.