Originally born Nathaniel Hathorne, the native of Salem, Massachusetts soon changed his last name to Hawthorne to disguise his ancestral ties to John Hathorne, one of the judges who presided over the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Seeking to avoid the political blunders of his predecessors, it was in literature where Nathaniel Hawthorne left his untarnished mark upon the American Conscience -- a mark that even today, has yet to gather a single spec of dust.
Publishing his first book in Fanshawe in 1828, it was his novel "The Scarlett Letter" -- written just over two decades later -- which propelled Hawthorne to the heights of lasting renown. Singled out for its exploration of sin, legalism, and guilt, "The Scarlett Letter" also bears a distinction shared only by few works as one of the first books to be mass-produced in America. Revered by critics and authors such as D.H. Lawrence as a "perfect work of the American Imagination", the piece also elevated Hawthorne as one of the leading figures of American Romanticism along with writers Herman Melville and Edgar Allen Poe. Here are five lines delivered by one of the first most widely read authors in the United States:
1. "A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities."
Though much that exists, and is real can prove to be a reality of lasting beauty, there is no beauty captured within in any reality that can outlast the beauty that endures in our dreams. Our imagination.
2. "Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind."
Although all that is past is passed, it never truly passes away.
3. "Life is made up of marble and mud."
From much that is deformed, and perverted, much beauty may spring but only such beauty can be if there is something perverted and deformed to shape it from.
4. "Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may align upon you.
Though many spend the entirety of life in pursuit of happiness, those who find happiness only do so when they allow happiness to find them.
"No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true."
While the persona we ear to ourselves may prove truer then the one we present to those around us, it is important to remember to which was prescribed the honesty or risk a time where both personas appear true, with the truth lost somewhere in between.
Though Nathaniel Hawthorne no longer remains to circulate stories anew, his books continue to populate the shelves of libraries and bookstores, and the hands of eager readers in masses as when they first made their way around America in the masses. Forever serving as a reminder that the true weight of happiness and fulfillment is not found in what was once pursued, but to be counted among who carry on in pursuit. But to remain alone as one pursuing.
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