Witchcraft in ~ Salem Village. Engraving. The central figure in this 1876 illustration of the courtroom is usually identified as mary Walcott. Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Sometimes famous quotes are clandestinely autobiographical as illustrated, perhaps, by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous, “Families are always rising and also falling in America.” My own theory regarding why Hawthorne can have stated that lies in his own past.

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Nathaniel self was a straight descendant of among the judges in the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, william Hathorne. However, by the moment Nathaniel was born in Salem in 1804, the household had shed its wealth and also prominence in the community and Hawthorne forced the financial assistance of his uncle in bespeak to to visit college. Specifically, Hawthorne attend Bowdoin College where he was chosen to the Phi Beta Kappa society.

Wikipedia describes his trip to school and the human being he met when there:

on the means to Bowdoin, in ~ the stage stop in Portland, Hawthorne met future president Franklin Pierce and the two became fast friends.Once at the school, he likewise met the future poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, future congressman Jonathan Cilley, and future naval reformer Horatio Bridge

Hawthorne added a ‘w’ come his name, may be in order come disassociate self from his famous ancestry who had actually been Puritans and ranking public representative in the Massachusetts bay Colony. At the period of 46, Nathaniel Hawthorne published The Scarlet Letter.

Wikipedia explains the Scarlet Letter’s publication:

“Hawthorne returned to writing and published The Scarlet Letter in mid-March 1850, including a preface which refers to his three-year tenure in the custom House and also makes several allusions to local politicians, that did no appreciate your treatment. One the the first mass-produced publications in America, it offered 2,500 volumes within ten days and also earned Hawthorne $1,500 over 14 years.The book was instantly pirated by booksellers in London and ended up being an immediate best-seller in the joined States; it initiated his most rewarding period as a writer.One that Hawthorne’s friends, the critic Edwin Percy Whipple, objected come the novel’s “morbid intensity” and also its dense psychological details, writing that the book “is therefore apt to become, choose Hawthorne, as well painfully anatomical in his exhibition of them”,though 20th century writer D. H. Lawrence said that there can be no an ext perfect work-related of the American creative thinking than The Scarlet Letter” ‘

Nathaniel Hawthorne is a household name as result of the man’s talent, work ethic, and additionally to the dynamics of American culture which allowed him to meet interesting civilization in college and climb the socioeconomic ladder. The name Hathorne, through contrast, has largely been lost to history.

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One of mine favorite components of American culture is that love of meritocracy and also with the comes individualism. In the Roman realm it was likewise true that family members would rise and also fall, however it didn’t frequently happen within a generation together it did v Hawthorne. That, i believe, is what Nathaniel to be observing.