Poverty Within and Without Young Goodman Brown

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Poverty Within and Without “Young Goodman Brown” How many readers have considered that the utter simplicity within the Nathaniel Hawthorne short story, “Young Goodman Brown,” might be an expression or reflection of the utter poverty within the life of Hawthorne? It is the purpose of this essay to clarify this issue. Hawthorne’s impoverishment probably begain with the untimely death of his father, and continuedfor most of his llife. Gloria C. Erlich in “The Divided Artist and His Uncles” states that “Robert Manning made the esential decisions in the lives of the Hawthorne children and is well known as the uncle who sent Hawthorne to college” (35). After graduation from Bowdoin College Hawthorne spent twelve…show more content…
. . .(chap. 2) Grandfather’s Chair (1841), a children’s book of New England history through the Revolutionary War, sold a million copies, but Hawthorne received only a hundred dollars - for the mansucript he wrote. Again he needed to supplement his writing income. In 1846, President Polk signed Hawthorne’s appointment to the customhouse at Salem with a salary of $1200 a year (Swisher 21). Two years later Hawthorne lost his job at the customhouse. While he was still angry about losing his political appointment and worried about supporting a wife and two children, his mother became desperately ill. James quotes Hawthorne himself as giving testimony to his personal financial situation - attached to the preface in 1851 to the second edition of Twice-Told Tales: He had no incitement to literary effort in a reasonable prospect of reputation or profit; nothing but the pleasure itself of composition, an enjoyment not at all amiss in its way, and perhaps essential to the merit of the work in hand, but which in the long run will hardly keep the chill out of a writer's heart, or the numbness out of his fingers (chap. 2). Hawthorne witnessed somewhat better times with the relative success of The Scarlet Letter, which sold 6,000 copies in America at seventy-five
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