Biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne

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When a child is born, his family is there to welcome him into the world. Whether he knows it or not, this family will eventually mold his character, views, and faith. Although all parents try their best to successfully raise their children, even the most perfect of families cannot hide their deep, dark secrets forever. Raised as a Puritan, Nathaniel Hawthorne grew up with a devout family intensely immersed in religion. As he matured, Hawthorne discovered that his seemingly pious family was disturbingly flawed, a discovery that would radically change his life. In his short story “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan family secrets aid in forming symbols of faith and evil and developing the inner complexities of his characters.
Hawthorne, the sixth generation in a family of American Puritans, was raised to strictly follow his religion. Born on July 4, 1804, Hawthorne spent most of his childhood years living in Salem, Massachusetts, the epicenter of Puritanism ( 1). On the surface, his family, the Hathornes, seemed kind and accepting. However, Nathaniel dug deeper and learned that his family’s connections to Puritanism were stronger than he could have imagined. Both William Hathorne, the family’s first American ancestor, and John Hathorne, Nathaniel’s great-great-grandfather, were involved in religious persecution. In fact, John Hathorne was one of three judges at the corrupt, biased Salem Witch Trials (European Graduate School 1). During these trials, several innocent people suspected of witchcraft were sentenced to death by the unethical legal system. While the other judges eventually apologized for their unjust actions, Hathorne refused to because, in his opinion, the will of god controlled the court’s deci...

... middle of paper ... Hawthorne’s family ancestry disturbed him and made him an antisocial pessimist, but it also gave him inspiration for one of his greatest works. By projecting his Puritan history and personal ideas into his stories, Nathaniel Hawthorne established himself as a legendary, inspirational American writer.

Works Cited
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