Nathaniel Hawthorne: A Literary Genius Essay

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Nathaniel Hawthorne was a great writer of the nineteenth century. To this day, his works continue to be widely read and highly regarded. He was a great writer and wrote about themes that are timeless and could be understood by people in his time as well as today (Diorio 134-135). His use of literary devices such as symbolism, irony, fantasy and illusion made his works very entertaining and powerful. He was said to be a “literary genius” (Diorio 134). Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. He was born with the last name Hathorne but he added the w to his last name when he started writing (Clendenning 114). His father died when he was four years old and the family went to live with his uncle in Salem. In 1825, he …show more content…
Ideas came from people he knew and he met, from places that he traveled to and from anything that happened that was of interest to him (Turner 49-50). In fact, Hawthorne believed “he had at his fingertips all the materials he needed for his tales and novels” (Turner 50). Hawthorne observed, thought about and took notes on things he saw. Many of his observations struck ideas for stories (Turner 48). In fact, he said, “Whenever any subject so forcibly affects the mind, time is well spent in thinking of it” (Turner 49). Hawthorne often transformed these people and experiences so that they were not as recognizable in his works (Turner 109). For example, the essay “The Custom House, which is the introduction to The Scarlet Letter,” incorporates his experiences and people that he worked with when he worked in the Boston Custom House (Ziff 33). Another example is the Old Man of the Mountain in his story “The Great Stone Face.” This character was based on a man he met when he traveled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire (Turner 50). In the book The House of the Seven Gables, the setting for much of the story occurs on a type of street in Salem that Hawthorne lived on (Turner 60-61). Puritanism was another major influence on Hawthorne’s writing. His ancestors were Puritans and since he grew up in Salem, the Puritan ways and beliefs were well known to him. Many of

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