Nathaniel Hawthorne Nathaniel Hawthorne, created many short stories which involved strange, or even stranger, supernatural events and behavior. Many of Hawthornes stories were written on the basis of his life occurrences and what he believed and also what he wanted his readers to believe. Also, almost every single one of Hawthornes characters in each of his short stories are faced with a choice in which they most choose between either doing something in which that is right, or doing something of which that is wrong, and there are consequences that follow either decision. Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his romantic short story The Hollow of the Three Hills illustrates his view through the main character, that life is short, and you need to do the right things while you have the time.Hawthornes life, what he did, and what happened to him, greatly influenced his writings, in fact, that is the only basis in which he wrote upon. When he graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825, he was determined to become a writer of fiction. Composition was the only subject in school he had shown interest in and actually excelled in. His wife, Sophia Peabody was the most important person who was in his life. He had the happiest years spending most of his life with her in Concord, New Hampshire. For Hawthorne, Sophia was his salvation, his only link to human companionship. As in the story The Hollow of the Three Hills, life and death are circumstances in which Hawthorne particularly likes to write about. Many other occurrences also influenced his writings, such as historical and legendary pasts, and his own life at Brook Farm, where he once lived. He would also often write about people who go through real life situations, but he likes to put a twist on them. Another thing that inspired him to write was what he could not see, rather than what he could see. He thought that writing on things that he could see, everyone one else could see as well, but if he wrote on things that he could not see, most likely no one else could see those things either, which would, in turn, make his stories more interesting to read about. Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1804. During this time was the age of Puritanism, which was also an idea that he often wrote upon. Biographers view Hawthornes preoccupation with Puritanism as an outgrowth of his background. He also wrote about supernatural events. As in the story The Hollow of the Three Hills, supernatural events occurred. An example of this would be when an anonymous young character seeked advice from a much older anonymous character. The older character gave her the advice she needed through fortune telling and spells. After the younger character got the advice she seeked, shedied instantly in the lap of the older character. Hawthorne frequently uses characters which have mesmeric powers. Mr. Hawthornes distinctive trait is invention, creation, imagination, and originality. These traits are the prime example of Romanticism. He also wrote about the positives and the negatives of romance, and the affects in has on common people.Hawthorne, not only through his short story The Hollow of the Three Hills, but in other short stories that he has written, explains or rather tries to tell his readers that life is short, and you need to do the right things while you have the time. Because if you do not do the right things while you have time, you will most likely regret the choices that you have made, or did not make. Some of Hawthornes life experiences influenced his writing. Hawthorne liked solitude, he often roamed forests and lakes by himself. Troubled about money and saddened by the death of his mother, inspired him to write The Scarlet Letter. The Marble Faun was written by the influence of Romes historical and legendary past, its artistic treasures, and the blended grandeur and squalor of life. Recurring thematic patterns occur in Hawthornes work, this shows Hawthornes emphasis on the events on the human heart rather than on the events themselves.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts, the descendent of a long line of Puritan ancestors, including John Hathorne, a presiding magistrate in the Salem witch trials. After his father was lost at sea when he was only four, his mother became overly protective and pushed him toward more isolated pursuits. Hawthorne’s childhood left him overly shy and bookish, and molded his life as a writer. Hawthorne turned to writing after his graduation from Bowdoin College. His first novel, Fanshawe, was unsuccessful and Hawthorne himself disavowed it as amateurish. However, he wrote several successful short stories, including “My Kinsman, Major Molyneaux,” “Roger Malvin’s Burial” and “Young Goodman Brown.” However, insufficient earnings as a writer forced Hawthorne to enter a career as a Boston Custom House measurer in 1839. However, after three years Hawthorne was dismissed from his job with the Salem Custom House. By 1842, however, his writing amassed Hawthorne a sufficient income for him to marry Sophia Peabody and move to The Manse in Concord, which was at that time the center of the Transcendental movement. Hawthorne returned to Salem in 1845, where he was appointed surveyor of the Boston Custom House by President James Polk, but was dismissed from this post when Zachary Taylor became president. Hawthorne then devoted himself to his most famous novel, The Scarlet Letter. He zealously worked on the novel with a determination he had not known before. His intense suffering infused the novel with imaginative energy, leading him to describe it as the “hell-fired story.” On February 3, 1850, Hawthorne read the final pages to his wife. He wrote, “It broke her heart and sent her to bed with a grievous headache, which I look upon as a triumphant success.” The Scarlet Letter was an immediate success and allowed Hawthorne to devote himself to his writing. He left Salem for a temporary residence in Lenox, a small town the Berkshires, where he completed the romance The House of the Seven Gables in 1851. While in Lenox, Hawthorne became acquainted with Herman Melville and became a major proponent of Melville’s work, but their friendship became strained. Hawthorne’s subsequent novels, The Blithedale Romance, based on his years of communal living at Brook Farm, and the romance The Marble Faun, were both considered disappointments. Hawthorne supported himself through another political post, the consulship in Liverpool, which he was given for writing a campaign biography for Franklin Pierce. Hawthorne passed away on May 19, 1864 in Plymouth, New Hampshire after a long period of illness in which he suffered severe bouts of dementia.. Emerson described his life with the words “painful solitude.” Hawthorne maintained a strong friendship with Franklin Pierce, but otherwise had few intimates and little engagement with any sort of social life. His works remain notable for their treatment of guilt and the complexities of moral choices.
In “Rappaccini’s Daughter”, Nathaniel Hawthorne examines the combination of good and evil in people through the relationships of the story’s main characters. The lovely and yet poisonous Beatrice, the daughter of the scientist Rappaccini, is the central figure of the story, while her neighbor Giovanni becomes the observer, participant, and interpreter of the strange events that transpire within the garden next door. It is Giovanni’s inability to understand these events that eventually leads to Beatrice’s death. Giovanni sees things that are either all good or all bad. While he is quick to judge Beatrice, he is unable to examine his own motives and thoughts. During the story, Hawthorne gives the reader many clues of Giovanni’s selfish and fickle nature. In the end, Beatrice dies because of Giovanni and his own poisonous nature. The moral of the story is that every persons character is both good and evil in nature. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses Giovanni and Beatrice to explore the impossibility of totally separating good and evil from the human character. At the beginning of the story, a young man named Giovanni Guasconti is introduced to the readers as a typical homesick student from Southern Italy. He is at once attracted to the beautiful garden next door belonging to the mysterious scientist, Dr. Rappaccini. Not only is he fascinated by the scientist and his garden, but he is instantly enchanted by Rappaccini’s beautiful daughter, Beatrice. The second time Giovanni sees Beatrice from his window overlooking the garden, he notices several unusual things. First, he believes that he sees a lizard die suddenly at Beatrice’s feet. Then a swarm of insects appear to die from her breath, and finally, the flowers that he gives to her seem to wither from her touch. However, Hawthorne is careful to never fully confirm what Giovanni sees. Hawthorne frequently uses words like “imagine”, “seemed”, or “appeared to ” to cast a doubt upon the validity of what Giovanni thinks he sees. Even Giovanni himself rationalizes the situation and convinces himself that what he thought he saw did not happen. This is because in Giovanni’s mind, it is impossible to separate the physical from the spiritual. For him, if Beatrice’s body is poisonous, then so is her spirit. Giovanni is unable to see the possibilities for good and bad to be simultaneously within someone. This problem is at the heart of this story and is what ultimately causes Beatrice’s death. Since Giovanni allows himself to disbelieve what he had seen earlier in the garden, he is able to fall for Beatrice. Giovanni is drawn to Beatrice not because of the “glamor” of science, but an interest in the unknown. He knows that all is not right in Rappaccini’s garden and he is fascinated with the mystery. As Giovanni and Beatrice get to know each other, they develop a strong bond. However, for Giovanni this is not true love. Hawthorne provides the reader with clues that question the integrity of Giovanni. For example, Hawthorne writes, “Guasconti had not a deep heart or at all events, its depths are not sounded now-but he had a quick fancy, and an ardent southern temperament, which rose every instant to higher fever-pitch” (Hawthorne 614). Not only is Giovanni passionate in his lust for Beatrice, but he also idealizes her as an angel. While he finds her to be “maiden-like”, he also considers her “worthy to be worshipped” (Hawthorne 619). Occasionally, Giovanni’s doubts come forth, “And at such times, he was startled at the horrible suspicions that rose, monster-like, out of the caverns of his heart, and stared him in the face; his love grew thin and faint as the morning-mist; his doubts alone had substance” (Hawthorne 620). But always, Giovanni is able to squash these doubts and he convinces himself of Beatrice’s purity. He is able to do this because otherwise he could not be with her. Giovanni does not see the possibility that there can be both good and evil within someone. For him, he thinks that someone is either all good or all bad. Even after Dr. Baglioni’s revelation about Beatrice, Giovanni tries not to see the possibilities of Beatrice being poisonous. It is only when he realizes that now he too is poisonous that he truly allows himself to believe. Because of this, he becomes insanely angry, as if he is the only one wronged, and ventures forth to confront Beatrice. The woman that he before worshipped, he now calls “Accursed one!” (Hawthorne 624). Now, he is repulsed by Beatrice and loathes her. Giovanni hurts Beatrice deeply with his accusations and stinging words. However, through Baglioni’s antidote he sees a possible way to cure them both. Beatrice takes the potion, urging Giovanni to wait and see what happens to her. At this point Beatrice dies because the poison in her body is too strong and the antidote causes her death. As she dies she says to Giovanni, “Thy words of hatred are like lead within my heart-but they, too, will fall away as I ascend. Oh, was there not, from the first, more poison in thy nature than in mine” (Hawthorne 626). Giovanni is a normal, but selfish student who is drawn into the Rappaccinis’ lives. He is unable to separate Beatrice’s good and sweet spirit from her poisonous body. He does not comprehend the possibility of an intermixture of good and evil within people. Once he finds out that she is indeed poisonous, he hates her. However, it is Giovanni in the end that is poisonous with his cruel words and the potion that he gives to Beatrice. In fact, although inadvertently, it is Giovanni who kills Beatrice by trying to change her nature with his antidote. The short story’s title, “Rappaccini’s Daughter” immediately tells the reader that the focus of the story is upon Beatrice even though she is not introduced to the reader for a couple pages. The first introduction to Beatrice teaches the reader that she is very beautiful and she is the caretaker to the poisonous plants in her father’s garden. As Giovanni learns, she knows little of the outside world for she has been raised almost exclusively within the garden. She appears to Giovanni, as well as to the reader, to be a gentle and innocent young woman. She even admits to Giovanni that the poisonous flowers in her father’s garden “shock and offend her, when they meet her eye” (Hawthorne 617). She honestly tells Giovanni about her poisonous nature when he confronts her; however, she seems to be truly unaware of her presence’s poisonous affect on Giovanni. She is also astonished by Giovanni’s hurtful confrontation. Beatrice tells Giovanni, “though my body be nourished with poison, my spirit is God’s creature, and craves love as its daily food” (Hawthorne 625). If she is evil, it is only because she was made that way. Her heart is pure. So in the end, the beautiful and innocent Beatrice is betrayed by the man she loved, Giovanni. For Giovanni betrays Beatrice because he thought she was evil, and truly Beatrice is the one who demonstrates to have true love. Beatrice proves to be very human, but with a poisonous body and a loving soul. At the beginning of the story, Giovanni is a normal person. However, he is inadvertently tempted by the beauty and sweetness of Beatrice and becomes poisonous. His own dark side is awakened by the encounter with the Rappaccinis and no one is left unscathed. Like all people, he is not completely good or bad, but a combination of the two. Some people are mostly good, some are mostly bad, but no one is only good or evil. Young Goodman Brown and Giovanni in “Rappaccini’s Daughter portray now characters in a story can be manipulated by the forces of good and evil. Examining the character theme of these two short stories, comparsions of the characters of Giovanni and Young Goodman Brown are closely aligned with the destiny of each bing similar and tragic. They both mus choose between good and evil. Both Giovanni and Young Goodman Brwon overcome evil, but only after….. Young Goodman Brown and Giovanni are both soliciting or being solicited by the devil. Young Goodman Brown goes into a dark, dreary forest searching for the devil. Young Goodman Brown’s enconnter was with a devilish man with a walking stick. “But the only thing about him that could be fixed upon as remarkable was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wroutht that it might almsot be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent”. Giovanni’s encounter was not obvious. Giovanni was being solicited by the devil through a beautiful woman in a garden surrounded by evil plants.
Word Count: 180