A Truly Hawthorne Nation Essay Research Paper

A Truly Hawthorne Nation Essay, Research Paper


Many people have had an effect on this country. The reason for this lies in our

country’s youth. The United States formed at a time when technological advancements

allowed many more people to leave a legacy in its dawning. These advancements led to

a creation of literary history. I find it hard to say one person had a larger effect on

anything than anyone else, but some people do seem to stand out more than others. In

helping to form, or even by just translating how others helped to form this country,

authors were able to compile a great deal of literature. This literature has left us a way to

learn about our history and many of the important people in it. One of these important

people, whom also happened to be an author, was Nathaniel Hawthorne. He wrote about

his own experiences, including his observations of other people’s experiences. His life

led him to the right places at the right times. Today anybody can pick up his works and

take from them the knowledge of what it was like to live during his times. Anyone who

reads his work inherits just a little bit of his style into their own writing. There is so

much of his own work, on top of so much work pertaining to him, in this world that it is

hard for him not to have made an impact on it. He has served as a translator, taking in

the influences of his time and especially the people of his time, to in turn influence the


Nathaniel Hathorne was born July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts(Carey ed.

6). Here alone is where he gained much of his influence, both through his family’s

history, as well as in his own time. Much of his persona can be understood by knowing

some facts of his life. His father died, while at sea, of yellow fever in 1808(Carey ed.

6). Due to a leg injury in 1813 Nathaniel was unable to attend school and was thus home

taught by Joseph Worcester for a short time(online:Dates 1800 to 1900- a timeline from

Nathaniel Hawthorne: 4/1/99). In 1819 he attended Samuel Archer’s School, in

preparation for college(Martin 11). In 1820 he was tutored by Benjamin Oliver(11). He

began his studies at Bowdoin in 1821, where he was privileged enough to work along

side Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Franklin Pierce, and other great minds(Carey ed. 6).

In 1830 he added a “w” to his last name, changing it to Hawthorne(online: Dates:

4/1/99). In 1838 a good friend of his, Jonathan Cilley, died in a duel in Washington

D.C.(online: Dates: 4/1/99). Nathaniel married Sophia Peabody in July of 1842. He

served as consul to Liverpool from 1853 to 1857, a job he received from President

Franklin Pierce, most likely as a gift for having written his biography. Nathaniel his wife

Sophia and their many children lived a happy adventure filled life.

I find it really simple to see where Nathaniel Hawthorne gained his influences,

whether it be his family history or the unique paths he chose to take in his extraordinary

life. His family had a deep history in quaint Salem Village, where they were involved in

the infamous Salem Witch Trials. His embarrassment of this history is the reason many

people speculate he changed the spelling of his name. During the early 1830’s Nathaniel

spent time with the Shakers of Cantebury, New Hampshire(Online: Dates: 4/1/99). In

1840 he began a job in the Boston Custom House. He lived at Brook Farm, a utopian

community in West Roxbury, for part of 1841(online: Dates: 4/1/99). From 1853 to

1857, Nathaniel served as consul to Liverpool. I find it easy to say he did not live the

average life, he always strove to learn as much as possible about anything he could.

Luckily for him, but even more so for us, Nathaniel Hawthorne was given many

opportunities to share his wealth of information with the world. In 1836 he was given the

privilege of editing and mostly writing the American Magazine of Useful and

Entertaining Knowledge(Carey ed. 7). In 1837 Nathaniel edited Peter Parley’s Universal

History (Martin 11). In 1845 he edited Journal of an African Cruiser, for Horatio Bridge

(online: Dates: 4/1/99). In 1847 Hawthorne reviewed Longfellow’s Evangeline. In

September of 1852 he published The Life of Franklin Pierce, which was used as the

campaign biography, when Pierce became the fourteenth president. These were some of

his breaks that lead him deeper and more involved into this country’s literary history.

The place where we can most enjoy Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work is in his books.

After spending a portion of his life at Bowdoin, he anonymously published Fanshawe, his

first attempt at sharing the personal views of his life with the public. Fanshawe was

basically a description of the goings on in his college life. He later went on to remove as

many copies of this book from the world as possible. We can only speculate as to why

he did not want it in circulation, though we continue to print it today. Soon after

marrying Sophia, he lived at the Old Manse in Concord, where he was introduced to

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the owner of the Manse, Henry David Thorough, a good friend

and frequent visitor of Emerson’s, Amos Bronson Alcott, a nearby neighbor, Margaret

Fuller, and many other radicals of the Transcendentalism movement(Carey ed.:6). Soon

after moving out of the Old Manse, in 1846, Nathaniel published Mosses from an Old

Manse(online: Dates: 4/1/99). This book is very important, because it is written by

Nathaniel Hawthorne, and in it he has left a trace of how other great authors influenced

him. In 1850 he published The Scarlet Letter, a story somewhat based on his ancestors’

participation in the shortcomings of the early Puritans(online: Dates: 4/1/99). After he

had been consul to Liverpool, Nathaniel along with his family traveled Europe, and took

great notes of the experiences they had. After going back to Salem he used the

compilation of notes as the basis of The Marble Faun, which he published in 1860

(online: Dates: 4/1/99). As you can see from the pattern which I am creating, Nathaniel

Hawthorne took in his influences and put his interpretations down in his work.

Not only did Nathaniel Hawthorne help to write our history, he helped to spread it

in other fashions too. In 1848 he became a manager in a Lyceum, where he was able to

use his influence to invite Emerson, Thoreau, Agassiz, Horace Mann, and countless

others to lecture(online: Dates: 4/1/99). Through his many relationships, such as his

infamous friendship with Franklin Pierce, Hawthorne had the tools to get people


As anyone can plainly see, by helping to record history, Nathaniel Hawthorne has

become an integral part of it. His influences span far beyond that of my own

comprehension. He had an impact on people in his own time, just as he has had on

people ever since. In 1849 Hawthorne met Herman Melville at a picnic. The kinship

formed between these two artists was shown when Melville dedicated his book Moby

Dick to Hawthorne in 1851(Sorel: 73). On March 21, 1994 Vice President Al Gore gave

this speech to the International Telecommunications Union:

“I have come here 8,000 kilometers from my home to ask you to help create a Global Information Infrastructure. To explain why, I want to begin by reading you something that I first read in high school, 30 years ago.

“By means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time….. The round globe is a vast….brain, instinct with intelligence!”

This was not the observation of a physicist—or a neurologist. Instead, these visionary words were written in 1851 by Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of my country’s greatest writers, who inspired by the development of the telegraph . Much as Jules Verne forsawe submarines and moon landings , Hawthorne foresaw what we are now poised to bring into being ….”

Whether it be in the development of a technological breakthrough, or the completion of a

short story, Nathaniel Hawthorne has been blessed with the ability to touch upon every

achievement in this nation.

I believe in many ways, Hawthorne was foretelling the future. One such example

is when he published The Scarlet Letter, and how he opened up many issues pertaining to

the Women’s Liberation Movement. He used a lot of symbolism in all his writings, such

as in Young Goodman Brown, these symbols were put into place to show women were

just as important as men, which also took part in the Women’s Suffrage Movement later

on. It took a very open-minded man to include these concepts in his works. Quite

possibly these works helped to influence the progression of women to go along as well as

it has. Like the purpose of a history, Nathaniel Hawthorne has taken the mistakes of the

past and taught the future not to make them again, or in the case of mankind he has

taught us to refrain from doing it over and over again, as much as possible.

Nathaniel Hawthorne took what he had as a history along with the influences in

his time to tell the world a story. Whether they were stories from before his time, stories

based on his own life, or even just ideas he spread through the bonds he made, he helped

knit a sense of history that this nation can call its own. I believe he had just the right mix

of history and connections to put him in the center stage of influence. He had

relationships with other great authors and artists of his time, whom he was able to grasp

the concepts of. He had the political ties from which to gain power and initiative. He

even had a family history from which to build on. All these attributes combined with one

of the nineteenth century’s greatest minds, Nathaniel Hawthorne has been able to do

more for this nation than we could ever understand. He paved the way for future writers

and historians. He opened the doors for women and liberals. Most of all, he kept us “up

to date” on our past. You see, Nathaniel Hawthorne really has served as a translator,

taking in the influences of his time and interpreting them in a way to influence the future.

Carey, Gary, M.A., ed.. Cliff’s Notes on Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven

Gables. Lincoln Nebraska: Cliffs Notes Inc.,1984

Dates 1800-1900 a timeline. Online. http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/nhe.html,

April 2, 1999.

Fleming, Thomas. “Nathaniel Hawthorne.” The Reader’s Companion to American

History (1991): 493

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Celestial Railroad, and other stories. New York, Signet

Classics, New American Library, 1980.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York, Signet Classics, New American

Library, 1980.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Edited by Sculley Bradley, Richmond

Croom Beatty, and E. Hudson Long. W. W. Norton & Company Inc., 1961, 1962.

Martin, Terence. Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York, Twayne Publishers Inc., 1965.

Quotes from Nathaniel Hawthorne. Online. http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/nhquotes.

html. April 2, 1999

Sorel, Nancy Cauldwell. “Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne.” The Atlantic

Monthly. Jan. (1995): 73


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