Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of literature's greatest and also most well known American writer's of his time. Hawthorne's brilliant use of symbolism is shown greatly in his writings. Being a lonely child while living in Salem, Massachusetts Hawthorne devoted a lot of his time to writing and he eventually graduated from Bowdoin College. Writing being the one thing he knew he wanted to do, Hawthorne secluded himself for 12 years to learn to write fiction. Hawthorne concentrated on mastering novels, short stories and children's classics. .
It's been known that, "Hawthorne was influenced chiefly by authors in the great tradition - Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, and Bunyan- ( Baym.16). Critics praised Hawthorne for his works and he even got a reward for one of his biography pieces. After living in Italy for a little with his wife, Sophia Amelia Peabody, they moved back to the United States. In 1863, Hawthorne published his last book called Our Old Home before passing away in 1864.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Artist of the Beautiful," the main character Owen Warland struggles with the reality that beauty is an unattainable possession which can only be possessed when one has faith. Owen goes through many emotions throughout the story which reveal what beauty is to him. He believes beauty is perfection and that it can only be created if you do things perfectly. Owen strives to create his vision of perfection by designing and building a mechanical reproduction of a perfect beautiful butterfly. As Owen attempts this challenge, "he is forced to do battle with the mass of his society, which not only misunderstands him but even actively condemns his purposes" (Kaul.99).
Owen is a watchmaker's apprentice by trade which is a bit of a contradiction since, "he looked with singular distaste at the stiff and regular processes of ordinary machinery" (Hawthorne.267). He has been remarkable since a young child producing delicate trinkets and wondered about the hidden mysteries of mechanism.