Why were Hawthorne’s works dark?



Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote many works, and most all of them share a common feature; they are dark and gloomy. Why did He write this way? Maybe it was because of his ancestors, or maybe it was from being raised in a strict Puritan fashion. It could be possible be from childhood memories, but one thing is certain, he made sure the reader thought about his works as they read them because they are almost dreams.

​At a fairly young age, Hawthorne added the “w” into his last name. He did this to “distinguish himself from the history which included John Hathorne, a prominent judge in the Salem with trials.” Why did he not want to be affiliated with his ancestors? There are not any facts on this matter, but many guess that he felt responsible for their actions, or that he was afraid of how the public would look at him. This could have affected his writing style because he had to hide who he really was. I think it could have played a huge role on it, because he knew what his ancestors had done and it bothered him; writing was the only way he could let his views come out.
Here is a photo of John




​If his family tree didn’t play a role on his writing style, then could it have possibly been how he was raised? Hawthorne lost his father at age four, and he moved around a good bit with his mother and two sisters. Those two facts alone could have influenced the darker side of Hawthorne. His immediate family thought very highly of him and when he didn’t want to go to school to be a doctor or lawyer, and it could have let his family down. He was raised in a very strict Puritan fashion, and that could also have made his want to release his feelings through his writing; maybe he didn’t like how strict they were on him as a child.

​To build the fire even more, Hawthorne had a few ups and downs throughout his life. As previously stated, he lost his dad and moved a lot, but he also was very isolated. He didn’t want to be around other people much, and at one point in his life he stayed in his “dungeon” for around twelve years. He “remembered these 12 years as a strong, dark dream.” Could those twelve years be what influenced him to write dreamy works? Once again, the information is not out there at the moment and it may never be, but I think the “dungeon” time frame could have certainly influenced his works.

​Hawthorne is considered to be a classic and he wrote many great works. He has influenced some current authors and I believe his works will carry on. His works are one of a kind, and the only way to understand this is to read them. I often picture things as I read them, but I could not picture any of his works because it was so similar to dreams, or better yet nightmares.

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