A Sphere by Oneself: Hawthorne and Self-Reliance
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This thesis looks at the use of isolation within the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, focusing on"Roger Malvin's Burial," while highlighting his points through several of his other short stories and The Scarlet Letter. This will primarily focus on the isolation of the one from society who is still apart of it; by that I mean the person who lives in society, interacts with those around him, but holds something inside which isolates him from the others. I pay particular attention to his use of guilt and secret sin, as well as Nature. Guilt and secret sin disease the minds of his characters, forcing their isolation to create misery. Nature is used by Hawthorne both as a way to mirror the emotions of the characters within it and, particularly the forest, as a way to delve into the subconscious of the main characters. I tie these discoveries together throughout the text through a comparison of Hawthorne's views with those of the transcendental writers who wrote at the same time as him, focusing on Emerson's"Nature" and"Self-Reliance" and Thoreau's Walden.