Nathaniel Hawthornes Salem Heritage

The research paper "Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Salem Heritage" examines the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s literary legacy in relation to his unique influences of the town of Salem, Massachusetts. In order to better understand Hawthorne’s influences, we must examine the historical happenings in his birthplace, especially those years prior to his birth. Salem, Massachusetts has a rich history illustrating early American culture, representing both the good and bad aspects unique to this time. Hawthorne’s great-great-grandfather William was an early leader in Salem, known for his theocratic Puritan beliefs and a strong conviction to rid the community of anyone who did not share those strict tenets. In 1692 Salem, William’s son John was a judge who presided over the Salem Witch trials. He, too, was well known for issuing harsh judgments for a wide variety of wrongs–real or imagined.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s personal history began on July 4, 1804, in Salem. Subsequent generations had taken on more ordinary, less noteworthy roles in the community. Hawthorne’s father was a sea captain. He inherited from his father a reserved nature, together with a moodiness that made him more suited for solitude. When Hawthorne was four, his father contracted yellow fever while traveling in Dutch Guiana. his death would always haunt Hawthorne as he struggled with losing a father he barely knew. It is the legacy of a family that would help shape Hawthorne as a writer and give him insight into aspects of the human condition.