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Critical Commentary on The Custom House by Nathaniel Hawthorne - Essay Example

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❶Might it not, in the tedious lapse of official life that lay before me, finally be with me as it was with this venerable friend—to make the dinner—hour the nucleus of the day, and to spend the rest of it, as an old dog spends it, asleep in the sunshine or in the shade? But, on examining the papers which the parchment commission served to envelop, I found more traces of Mr.

The Custom-House

After she is released from prison, Hester remains in Boston because
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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We provide top-notch quality to every client, irrespective of the amount they pay to us. A nameless narrator who has a similar biography to Hawthorne describes his job as chief executive officer of a Custom House, the place where taxes were paid on imported goods. The narrator describes his Custom House colleagues as "wearisome old souls" and Salem, the town where it was located, as old and run-down.

Setting the story in Salem, the site of the Salem Witch Trials, begins the novel's critique of Puritan severity. The narrator's negative description of his colleagues shows his feelings about conformity. One rainy day, the narrator discovered a peculiar package in the upstairs storage area of the Custom House. The package contained a piece of fabric with a red letter "A" affixed to it along with several pages explaining the history of the letter.

The narrator says this discovery formed the core of the story that he will now tell in The Scarlet Letter. Note that the scarlet letter survives hundreds of years after Hester Prynne and the Puritans have perished. The symbol endures even after those who created it have vanished. The narrator mentions that he's since lost his job at the Custom House. He draws a distinction between his "figurative self," whom the public would expect to be dismayed by the lost job, and the "real human being" who welcomed the changes in his life that allowed him to become "again a literary man.

The preface sets the atmosphere of the story and connects the present with the past. Hawthorne's description of the Salem port of the s is directly related to the past history of the area. The Puritans who first settled in Massachusetts in the s founded a colony that concentrated on God's teachings and their mission to live by His word.

But this philosophy was eventually swallowed up by the commercialism and financial interests of the s. The clashing of the past and present is further explored in the character of the old General. The old General's heroic qualities include a distinguished name, perseverance, integrity, compassion, and moral inner strength. He is "the soul and spirit of New England hardihood. A further connection to the past is his discussion of his ancestors. Hawthorne has ambivalent feelings about their role in his life.

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The Custom House is largely an autobiographical sketch describing Hawthorne's life as an administrator of the Salem Custom House. It was written to enlarge the tale of The Scarlet Letter, since Hawthorne deemed the story too short to print by itself. It also serves as an excellent essay on society.

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A summary of The Custom-House: Introductory in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Scarlet Letter and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.

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Sample A+ Essay; How To Cite No Fear The Scarlet Letter; The Custom-House. 1 “[W]e may prate of the circumstances that lie around us, and even of ourself, but still keep the inmost Me behind its veil. To this extent and within these limits, an author, methinks, may be autobiographical, without violating either the reader’s rights or his. So little adapted is the atmosphere of a Custom–house to the delicate harvest of fancy and sensibility, that, had I remained there through ten Presidencies yet to come, I doubt whether the tale of “The Scarlet Letter” would ever .

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Custom House in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essay Words 2 Pages In the "Custom House," written as an introduction to The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne gives an autobiographical description of his life and times. Summary Hawthorne begins The Scarlet Letter with a long introductory essay that generally functions as a preface but, more specifically, accomplishes four signi The Custom-House Sign In | Sign Up.