Graves and Goblins by Nathaniel Hawthorne


Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 – 1864) was an American writer. His literature tends to focus on sin, morality, puritanism and whether people are inherently evil. He is perhaps most known for his novel The Scarlet Letter, which also deals with the issues of guilt, sin and morality.

His name was actually Hathorne, but he added the ‘w’ in an attempt to hide his relationship to his ancestor John Hathorne. John Hathorne was the only judge to take part in the Salem Witch Trials, who neither repented nor regretted his participation in said trials.

The narrator for this short story is a ghost, and it speaks of life and death. It tells the reader of the earth where the bodily remains rest.

‘though an earth-clogged fancy is laboring with these conceptions, and an earthly hand will write them down, for mortal eyes to read, still their essence flows from as airy a ghost as ever basked in the pale starlight’

In this short story you can really tell how talented Hawthorne was. His writing flows well, it’s poetic and it is deep. A piece worth studying methinks.

heavy with the burden of mortal language, that crushes all the finer intelligences of the soul. This is no fault of mine. But should aught of ethereal spirit be perceptible, yet scarcely so, glimmering along the dull train of words,

gravespThe ghost believes that we are inspired by those who are no longer with us. A muse of a more ethereal nature. A whisper in the ear becomes a thought in the mind.

Sprites, that were poets once, and are now all poetry, hover round the dreaming bard, and become his inspiration; buried statesmen lend their wisdom, gathered on earth and mellowed in the grave, to the historian; and when the preacher rises nearest to the level of his mighty subject, it is because the prophets of old days have communed with him.

What it would be like to know as a child where you are to be buried a little bit further down the line.

Even in early childhood, I had selected a sweet spot, of shade and glimmering sunshine, for my grave. It was no burial-ground, but a secluded nook of virgin earth, where I used to sit, whole summer afternoons, dreaming about life and death. Finally, when all should be finished, in that spot so hallowed, in that soil so impregnated with the most precious of my bliss, there was to be my grave.

This is a lovely story, more so because of the depth. It is almost a surprise. Hawthorne tends to be heavy on the morals and almost whips you with the guilt in the Scarlet Letter. Graves and Goblins is something completely different.

Read Graves and Goblins, The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables at Feedbooks. The complete works of Nathaniel Hawthorne at the Internet Archive. Listen to The Blithedale Romance, The Marble Faun or Rappacini’s Daughter at Librivox.

Read and download Sweeney Todd – Urban Legend Gone Mainstream, Lorna Doone, Smokin RocketsAnother Few Thousand WordsOne Body Too ManyAnything for a LaughThe Sorrows of SatanThe DualitistsKama SutraI Werks Long HoursSpring Has BegunNon Stop New YorkDriving with a Dead Guy in the BackseatThe Life of Christ, Boop Boop a Doop,The HandsHere Comes TroubleHeidiService with a SmileCorruption, Just a wee bit of Arthur Conan DoyleIn the Year 2889ThemSouth Sea TalesLove InsuranceHorror and Spice, and all things niceWonders of the Invisible World, Prelinger Part 2: Healthy Habits, Prelinger Archives Pt.1 Teen Feelings, Wuthering Heights.

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