Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1376 words - 6 pages

America is a melting pot. Our leaders, immigrants from other countries, successes, and tragedies, are constantly changing this nation. American food, music, and ideals are also constantly being modified. American literature is no exception. Many great writers have influenced and reshaped our literature, and Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of them. He faced his problems and moved on. He was and is one of the most influential American writers, and he is more than a writer.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel and Elizabeth Hawthorne. His original last name was Hathorne, but he added the 'w' when he started writing to avoid confusion with his great-grandfather John Hathorne, a Salem Witch Trial judge. His grandfather was a Revolutionary War veteran, and his father, who died when he was three, was a sea captain. He also had two sisters, Elizabeth and Maria Louisa. After his father died, the Hawthorne family was poor, so his maternal grandfather, Richard Manning brought them to Lake Sebago, Maine (it was actually part of Massachusetts at that time). Considering his family history, it is not surprising that he became interested in history at a young age. His other passion was writing, and he often exchanged poems with his critical sister Elizabeth (Wineapple, 153).
Even though Nathaniel protested, Nathaniel had a college education. His uncle financed it. Nathaniel had already decided what he wanted to be. He said, "I do not want to be a doctor and live by men's diseases, nor a minister and live by their sins, nor a lawyer and live by their quarrels. So, I don't see that there is anything left but to be an author (www.egs.edu)." He entered Bowdoin College in 1821. At college, Nathaniel constantly broke the rules. He smoked and drank. Even though he did a lot of bad there, some good did come out of it. He made friends there with Franklin Pierce, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Horatio Bridge, and these relationships would affect his later life.
Even though he had a lot of talent, his early works did not receive much attention. Fresh out of college, Nathaniel decided to do some traveling. Between 1825 and 1837, he traversed New England. He based his first book, Seven Tales of My Native Land (1826), on his early travels. After the publisher refused it, Nathaniel became mad and burned the copies. Convinced of his lack of talent, he did not write anything for a while. In 1828, he decided to write a novel, which was titled Fanshawe. He paid for it and circulated the copies. After a while, he became embarrassed and tried to destroy every copy. In 1829, he tried again, despite his early failures, and wrote Provincial Tales. Even though this one succeeded, it was published anonymously, so he barely earned any money from it. He was also horrified to find it in a low quality fiction catalog. Around this time, he also wrote "The Story Teller". Samuel Goodrich, the publisher he sold it to, took the stories apart and sold off...

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