Nathaniel Hawthorne, an early-American writer plagued by the sins of his ancestors, channeled the guilt and shame he felt to write novels and short stories that would earn himself a spot among the most-read and most famous American writers of all time. Hawthorne's great-grandfather, a judge in the Salem Witch Trials, inspired Hawthorne's writings to be centered around the inherited evil and sin of humanity. Hawthorne was a firm believer in human imperfection, falls from grace, and generational curses. Although understanding Hawthorne's works can be challenging, by closely examining Hawthorne's biography, along with the subjects and themes of his writings, the reader will better understand how Hawthorne's personal demons inspired him to deliver his messages of human imperfections through his writings. In The Scarlet Letter, The House of Seven Gables, and The Blithedale Romance Hawthorne exhibits his themes.
of evil, moral responsibility, and crime and romance, and proves that anyone is capable of falling from grace, as humans are born with an evil nature.
Hawthorne was born in 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. In his late teen years, with help from his uncle, Hawthorne attended Bowdoin College in Maine. After college, It was during his time of unemployment that Hawthorne returned to a career of writing and published The Scarlet Letter in 1850. The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne's master opus, "a genuine native romance" (Whipple, 3) full of subtle terror and particularly appealing remains one of the most well-received.
American novels. The Scarlet Letter, along with The House of Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance, is still read and anthologized in high schools and colleges across the United States today. However, readers of Hawthorne's work must first understand Hawthorne's personal background and family history in order to understand the subjects and themes about which he so adamantly wrote.