Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Nathaniel Hawthorne Research Paper Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in on July 4, 1804 in Salem; Massachusetts was no longer the successful and affluent seaport it had once been. Salem entered a decline that hastened by the opening of the Erie Canal in the 1830s. The canal concluded Salem's significance as a trading port. Hawthorne's father was captain at sea, who died in a foreign land of yellow fever when Nathaniel was only four. “His mother Elizabeth was left stricken with grief and moved into her father's house in Salem with her son and two daughters” (Otfinoski 50). Hawthorne’s mother remained a virtual recluse until her death for 40 years. Hawthorne after several years was interested in a solid literary job. In 1836, American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge in Boston decided to hire him to edit the articles (Ottfinski 51). Hawthorne negotiated a salary of $500 a year, but recieved only $20 for all his hard works (51). “Like Edgar Allan Poe, Hawthorne was quickly learning the difficulties of trying to make a living in the magazine trade” (Orin). After the release of The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne’s Salem neighbors were astounded to discover a “literary celebrity in their midst” (Turner 43). Among his admirers was Elizabeth Peabody, a young woman who befriended the nervous author and acquainted him to her educated circle of friends. “Among these was her invalid sister, Sophia” (Turner 45). Hawthorne fell instantly in love when he met Sophia. They would not be married for another five years; Hawthorne viewed her as his “inspiration” and named her as his "sole companion" (Martin 34). As Hawthorne continued with his writing career he became distant from the idea of becoming an average person with a similar career.
"I do not want to be a doctor and live by men's diseases; nor a minister, to live by their sins; nor a lawyer and live by their quarrels. So I don't see that there is anything left for me but to be an author."(Hawthorne)
Hawthorne’s view of other professions can be seen in his writing such as in his novel The Scarlet Letter with the sinful minister, the evil doctor, and ever judging magistrates. Hawthorne had over the year became a good friend to the now President Pierce. Pierce's administration boded well for Hawthorne. Pierce employed his friend as the U.S. consul to England. The Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne ended up situated in Europe for seven years, separating their time between England and Italy. Hawthorne loved Europe and its “cultural riches” (Hawthorne), unfortunately Europe brought little of the inspiration there “that Irving and Cooper had before him”(Turner116). During his sojourn in Europe he completed only one major work, a novel, The Marble Faun. In May 1864, Hawthorne and Pierce decided to plan a trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire two months before his 60th birthday. “He hoped the fresh air would revive his spirits” (Ottfinski 56). In Plymouth, New Hampshire the two friends decided to sojourn overnight at an inn. Pierce during the night entered his friend's room to check on him and discovered Hawthorne died sometime during the night. During Nathaniel Hawthorne’s time period several things affected his writing. The issue of slavery was a key issue during his lifetime. Slavery was reduced around the world. “A successful slave revolt in Haiti, Britain forced the Barbary pirates to halt their practice of kidnapping and enslaving Europeans, banned slavery throughout its domain, and charged its navy with ending the global slave trade”(Orin). The Portuguese Empire was the first to abolish slavery, followed by Britain. Another major change in the time period was a massive population growth. “Advances in medicine and the understanding of human anatomy and disease prevention took place in the 19th century, and were partly responsible for rapidly accelerating population growth in the western world”(Orin). The