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Scarlet Letter 2 Essay, Research Paper

Similarities in the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Ambitious Guest is a short story bye Nathaniel Hawthorne that presents deadly irony. Residing in a notch in the mountains of New Hampshire, a cottage sits on the side of a steep mountain. In the house lives a family whose contacts with the rest of the world are from the travelers that pass by. One night when the family was huddled by the fire, a traveler stopped by. The family was happy to have a guest and the guest was happy to have people to talk to. The stranger, normally a quiet person, revealed his desires about life and death. The stranger wanted to be known and to have someone to love him and grieve of his death. The family agreed with him and they all talked about how nice it would be to live in a small town and get to know all the people living in the town. They then started talking about death and how they want to die with people remembering them when suddenly there is an avalanche. They all run out of the house and get killed by the falling rocks. The rocks completely missed the house but the people were never found in the rubble around the house.

Most writers have a style in which they write and they follow this style through all their works. Nathaniel Hawthorne is no exception to this. In the Scarlet Letter and in The Ambitious Guest Hawthorne uses the same writing style for both so they have many similarities. Some of these similarities include references to symbols such as the forest, death, solitude and light. Although the plots are very different, main themes shine through in both stories.

In both stories, the forest is a place of solitude. In the Scarlet Letter Hester and Dimmesdale talk freely to each other in the forest because the forest is a lonely place where no one will hear them talk. The forest is also portrayed as an evil place where the devil and his followers meet and live. The Indians live in the forest and Miss Hibbins wanted to meet Hester and the devil in the forest. Wilt thou go with us tonight? There will be a merry company in the forest; and I well-nigh promised the Black Man that comely Hester Prynne should make one. (Hawthorne, Letter 116). In The Ambitious Guest the forest surrounds the lonely family. They want to get out of the forest and get to know people. The forest is evil in a way, keeping the family from the outside world. They dwelt in a cold spot and a dangerous one (Hawthorne, Guest 1).

In The Scarlet Letter Hester is plagued with solitude. Since she has the A on her chest she is isolated from the rest of the world. Hester wants to be accepted into society but she is rejected and forced into a lonely life. At the end of the book she tried to run away to Europe with Dimmesdale but Dimmesdale died and she was stuck in solitude. This same thing happened in The Ambitious Guest. The family and stranger were stuck in solitude also. He had traveled far and alone; his whole life, indeed had been a solitary path. (Hawthorne, Guest 3) This shows that the stranger was always lonely. All night they where dreaming about getting out and living the life they wanted. They couldn t escape their fate of solitude however because they were killed and they ended up dying in the opposite way that they wanted to. Their bodies were never found which makes it even worse.

The thought of death attracted characters from both stories. The secret of the you man s character was a high and abstracted ambition. He could have borne to live an undistinguished life, but not to be forgotten in the grave. (Hawthorne, Guest 3) shows that death was constantly on the stranger s mind. The family and stranger wanted a glorified death with people mourning them and remembering how they were good people. Dimmesdale wanted death as an escape from the troubles and suffering of life. Dimmesdale was to scared to take his own life because of the consequences he would find after death.

The Ambitious Guest and The Scarlet Letter have many similarities because the same writer wrote them in the same style. Although the plots were far from being the same, the symbols used in the two plots were almost identical. By studying the writing styles one can determine that author by just reading a story.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. (1851) The Ambitious Guest.


Hawthorne, Nathaniel. (1850) The Scarlet Letter. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc.

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