The US Government In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Custom House

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Hawthorne characterizes the U.S. government as a terrifying, threatening fowl with fierceness in her eyes and in the wind beneath her wings. Using a combination of painful imagery, “intermingled thunderbolts and barbed arrows in each claw,” and authoritative descriptions of the great winged beast’s power, Nathaniel Hawthorne assimilates a figure of fear and loathing, taking the form of the U.S. government. In this passage from “The Custom House” Hawthorne establishes a patronizing tone toward Salem, “the scorned city.” Providing readers with a dreary lulling view depicting the city, exampling the “wharves crumbling to ruin,” Hawthorne paints a scene of dull misery. As a ship master returns to port, he carries a tarnished box, representing

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