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My kinsman, Major Molineaux

            The setting for "My kinsman, Major Molineaux" is a few years prior to the American Revolution in the Massachusetts Bay Colony as referenced by Barfoot. Hawthorne foreshadows Major Molineaux's future by stating that uprisings are beginning to occur in the colonies. Robin also smells fresh tar when he gets off the ferry. We later learn that Major Molineaux had been tarred and feathered and put on some sort of evil parade. Robin inquires about his uncle's location as he happens upon people in the street. He gets concerning reactions that ranged from anger to laughter with no one willing to assist. "Robin was unaware of the hostility the townspeople had toward Major Molineaux, since he is an extension of the British rule in the colonies." As Robin came across younger people, he was directed to wait on the steps, and Major Molineaux would soon be passing. There was a lot of laughter and commotion shortly after his wait and he saw his kinsman humiliated with tar and feathers. Robin saw an ugly familiar face from his earlier inquiries. Out of shear fright or the ability to laugh at oneself, Robin joins in the laughter of the crowd. Hawthorne uses imagery of a somewhat religious content as evidenced in this passage: "A fainter yet more awful radiance was hovering around the pulpit, and one solitary ray had dared to rest upon the opened page of the great Bible. Had nature, in that deep hour, become a worshipper in the house which man had built? Or was that heavenly light the visible sanctity of the place- visible because no earthly and impure feet were within the walls?" The crowd had an evil motive and "the single horseman, clad in a military dress, and bearing a drawn sword, rode onward as the leader, and, by his fierce and variegated countenance, appeared like war personified: the red of one cheek was an emblem of fire and sword; the blackness of the other betokened the mourning that attends them, was also hooded to conceal is identity.

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