Minister's Black Veil - Poverty in Minister’s Black Veil and in Hawthorne’s Life

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Poverty in “The Minister’s Black Veil” and in Hawthorne’s Life How many readers have considered that the utter simplicity within the Nathaniel Hawthorne short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” might be an expression or reflection of the utter poverty within the life of Hawthorne? It is the purpose of this essay to clarify this issue. Hawthorne’s impoverishment probably began with the untimely death of his father, and continued until 1857. He had no money for a college education. Gloria C. Erlich in “The Divided Artist and His Uncles” states that “Robert Manning made the essential decisions in the lives of the Hawthorne children and is well known as the uncle who sent Hawthorne to college” (35). After graduation from Bowdoin College Hawthorne spent twelve years in his room at home in an intense effort to make something of himself literarily. The Norton Anthology: American Literature states: Hawthorne’s years between 1825 and 1837 have fascinated his biographers and critics. Hawthorne himself took pains to propagate the notion that he had lived as a hermit who left his upstairs room only for nighttime walks and hardly communicated even with his mother and sisters (547). Sculley Bradley, Richmond Croom Beatty and E. Hudson Long in “The Social Criticism of a Public Man” consider his poverty a determining influence in his life: “…a young man engrossed in historical study and in learning the writer’s craft is not notably queer if he does not seek society or marriage, especially if he is poor” (47-48). Fame was slow in coming for the author, likewise prosperity. Clarice Swisher in “Nathaniel Hawthorne: a Biography” explains in great detail the unfortunate financial uncertainty which ... ... middle of paper ... ... Press, 1996. Erlich, Gloria C. “The Divided Artist and His Uncles.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” 1835. http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~daniel/amlit/goodman/goodmantext.html James, Henry. Hawthorne. http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/nhhj1.html Lewis, R. W. B. “The Return into Time: Hawthorne.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966. “Nathaniel Hawthorne.” The Norton Anthology: American Literature, edited by Baym et al. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1995. Swisher, Clarice. “Nathaniel Hawthorne: a Biography.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.

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