Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Dark Side

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Dark Side

I bought the Complete Novels and Selected Titles of Hawthorne hoping for some higher intellectual reading and vocabulary building for my own book writing skills. I came away with very few useful notes largely because his skill evaporated into his negativity. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s dark side dominated his writings. I realized his works were historically unreliable, negatively biased, and creatively compromised.

Nathaniel Hawthorn is a classic American author highly esteemed in some circles, but he has a strong slant toward the dark view. His stories are heavily influenced by his transcendentalist beliefs. This religion has the elements of worshiping humans and nature. Yet, he brings elements of nature alive as evil creatures. His human characters struggle for utopia and come out looking inept and less than intelligent. He also gives the conservative religious groups of his time a very rigid, mean personality.

Historical Dark Side Portrayed by Nathaniel

I longed for more knowledge of the history of New England and the character of its people. However, multiple stories of his revealed that Nathaniel’s view could not be trusted. Many historical writings come from the winners of battles and slant heavily in those characters’ favor. Nathaniel took the opposite swing; the extreme opposite swing.

He told stories of excessive Puritan animosity toward Quaker people as if they really happened to that degree or were typical of the time. After I read enough of them, I realized that they could not have been as cruel as he portrayed them. Years ago, I experienced how ultra-conservatives behave, but they always have a good side. Their intentions at least start out good, then get clouded. He left their good side out and painted a very dark side.

Nathaniel’s writings remind me of today’s historical revisionism in our school’s history textbooks. The motive of historical revisionism is to remove Christianity from the history textbooks. Once removed, the next generation does not learn the fact that Bible scripture was quoted, read, and referenced by many of the founding fathers of the United States of America. This God-centered habit continued as late as when the first man landed on the moon. Officials in the space program had many discussions about what to have the Astronauts say from the moon. They opted for the first ten verses of the creation story in Genesis chapter one. Removing such positive and religious truths from History leaves only a story that’s no longer His (God’s) nor the full truth.

Nathaniel has a Negative Bias

Nathaniel created the dark side not only by leaving out the good characteristics of religion but by how he painted people and scenes. One type of the main character he chose was greatly flawed and struggled endlessly, often not ending well. His scenes involved things like dark woods with plant and animal life that were creepy and had names from the evil spirit world. Another favorite scene he chose was the bar and drinking scene set in ornate rooms with low-life characters. The main character started out pure and became defiled. The typical main characters were coming-of-age young ladies or gentlemen tainted by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Dark Side.

I justified reading further by considering the reading a study of the New Englanders from a viewpoint other than considering them perfect; an outside-of-religious viewpoint. Soon, I noticed something else. Wisdom and beauty were missing from large chunks of the stories. God blesses people with talents. When they use them rightly, He blesses them more. When used for the dark side, He removes the beauty of their talent.

Dark Side Evaporates Creativity

Nathaniel’s choice to dwell on the dark side wasted a talent that could have captured our nation’s history in a phenomenal way. He possessed the ability to use character description and scene development to build suspense in his story plot. He knew his time era’s historical setting well and could weld purpose from it, dark purpose. Then he failed to build traits with stability, the heroes failed, and the scenes closed in on the reader. Scenes he wrapped in evil surmising lacked creative language. Quality metaphors vanished in his dark scenes.

Finally, I reached my limit of enduring Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Dark Side. The continual hope of the next story improving grieved me. Finally, I realized that there was not going to be a better one. Frankly, I like to hear New England’s History from a more moderate view. I deposited the book into the dumpster.

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