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What are some interesting facts about Nathaniel Hawthorne?

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Nathaniel Hawthorne knew from an early age that he wanted to be a writer. As a teenager, his mother and uncle planned to send him to the medical school at Bowdoin College, a development to which he vocally rebelled. He insisted on his plans to be an author.

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Hawthorne's family name was actually "Hathorne." Hawthorne added the "w" to distance himself from ancestor John Hathorne, one of the most prominent judges in the Salem Witch Trials. Despite his initial objections, Hawthorne did end up attending Bowdoin College, though he did not attend the medical school. He had no particular area of focus in his study and graduated in 1825.

Hawthorne's first literary success, "Twice-Told Tales," was published 12 years after his graduation from college. He was a member of the Transcendentalist movement, and participated in the experimental Brook Farm, a utopian commune modeled on socialist concepts.

After being married, Hawthorne and his wife rented their first home from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Hawthorne's inspiration for writing "The Scarlet Letter" came from finding an old, worn letter "A" patch in the attic of his mother's home after her death. He was close friends with Herman Melville, and Melville dedicated "Moby Dick" to him.

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  • Q:

    What are some of the symbols in "The Minister's Black Veil?"?

    A:

    Reverend Hooper's black veil and his face are the two dominant symbols in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Minister's Black Veil." The black veil has two symbolic meanings: a facade of decency that the minister dons in the presence of others and a shield hiding iniquity in the minister's past.

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  • Q:

    What are some examples of figurative language from "The Scarlet Letter"?

    A:

    Some of the most important quotations from Nathaniel Hawthorne's gothic romance novel, "The Scarlet Letter," make use of figurative language, such as Pearl's observation in Chapter 16 that the sunshine "runs away and hides itself" from her mother. She goes on to say that the sun does not flee from her, because she wears nothing on her breast yet. The implication is her belief that sin, represented by the scarlet letter, is inseparable from maturity.

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  • Q:

    What is the setting of "The Scarlet Letter"?

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    "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is set in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which is present-day Boston, Mass. It takes place in the middle of the 17th century.

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  • Q:

    Who wrote "The Minister's Black Veil"?

    A:

    Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote "The Minister's Black Veil." First published in the anthology, "The Token and Atlantic Souvenir," in 1836, the story appeared the next year in a collection of Hawthorne's stories titled, "Twice-Told Tales."

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