1468 Words 6 Pages
What Was He Thinking?
What would you think of a man who left his family, moved over to the next street to watch their lives unfold, and then returned after twenty years as if nothing had happened? What could drive a man to such bizarre behavior? These are the issues that Nathaniel Hawthorne deals with in the story of Mr. Wakefield. The very idea that a man could possibly do such a thing makes the audience want to understand his intentions. It is hard for a modern audience to make sense of such a story because television shows and movies have made today’s society focus so much on easily apparent themes or morals. Hawthorne used this story to examine society’s motivations. In his short story “Wakefield,” it is necessary that Hawthorne
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Hawthorne tells the entire story first so that the reader will not focus on the plot but on Mr. Wakefield’s motives. Hawthorne uses the plot of the story as a hook because it draws the reader in and makes them want to read his story. Morsberger reaffirms this idea by stating “[Wakefield] is not easily forgotten; something besides Wakefield’s eccentricity sticks in the mind, while more sophisticatedly crafted works fade into forgetfulness” (7). Another example of Hawthorne’s unique style is when he speaks directly to his audience in a long paragraph in which he states that “Wakefield” is very odd. He then invites the audience to “ramble with [him] through the twenty years of Wakefield’s vagary… trusting that there will be a pervading spirit and a moral, even should we fail to find them, done up neatly, and condensed into the final sentence” (75). This prepares the audience for the story while also informing them of an obscure theme. With this quote, Hawthorne focuses the story on the oddities of the human mind and the motivations that influence it.
The main character, Mr. Wakefield, is presented as a normal person who, because of his motivations, creates a very unusual life for himself. However, this story seems to echo a period of Hawthorne’s own life. Morsberger undoubtedly claims that the issues dealt with in “Wakefield” are the same issues
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