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Fancy's Show-Box (From "Twice Told Tales")   By: (1804-1864)

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Fancy's Show-Box, from Nathaniel Hawthorne's collection "Twice Told Tales," follows the captivating story of a young man named Fancy who stumbles upon a mystical show-box. This particular tale shines with Hawthorne's uniquely enchanting prose and his masterful ability to transport readers into an otherworldly realm.

Struggling with the mundane realities of everyday life, Fancy yearns for adventure and a chance to escape his monotonous existence. One day, his curiosity leads him to a strange and unassuming show-box, where an old man invites him to enter a fantastical world of wonders. What ensues is a vivid and mesmerizing journey through the outer limits of Fancy's imagination.

As the narrative unfolds, Hawthorne masterfully blends elements of fantasy, mysticism, and psychological introspection. Through the ever-changing scenes in the show-box, the author explores themes of human desire, the power of dreams, and the eternal quest for the extraordinary. Hawthorne delves deep into Fancy's psyche, unraveling the complexities of his character and the universal human longing for escape from the mundane.

The exquisite craftsmanship of Hawthorne's prose is notable throughout Fancy's Show-Box. His vivid descriptions effortlessly paint intricate images in the reader's mind, bringing the mysterious world of the show-box to life. Hawthorne's lyrical language further enhances the almost ethereal quality of the story, making it a delight to read and immerse oneself in.

Moreover, the storytelling in Fancy's Show-Box showcases Hawthorne's talent for crafting layered narratives. By alternating between the reality within the show-box and Fancy's own reality outside of it, the author skillfully intertwines the fantastical with the real, blurring the lines between imagination and actuality.

Although relatively short, Fancy's Show-Box leaves a lasting impression with its thought-provoking themes and poetic storytelling. As with much of Hawthorne's work, this tale invites readers to ponder the fine balance between reality and the yearning for escapism. It serves as a reminder that perhaps the true magic lies not in seeking refuge from the ordinary, but in finding meaning and beauty within it.

In summary, Fancy's Show-Box is a captivating tale that showcases Nathaniel Hawthorne's literary prowess. With its enchanting prose, exploration of human desires, and skillful blending of reality and fantasy, this story resonates long after the final page is turned. For fans of Hawthorne's work or anyone seeking a brief but immersive experience, Fancy's Show-Box is a must-read.

First Page:




By Nathaniel Hawthorne

What is Guilt? A stain upon the soul. And it is a point of vast interest, whether the soul may contract such stains, in all their depth and flagrancy, from deeds which may have been plotted and resolved upon, but which, physically, have never had existence. Must the fleshly hand and visible frame of man set its seal to the evil designs of the soul, in order to give them their entire validity against the sinner? Or, while none but crimes perpetrated are cognizable before an earthly tribunal, will guilty thoughts, of which guilty deeds are no more than shadows, will these draw down the full weight of a condemning sentence, in the supreme court of eternity? In the solitude of a midnight chamber, or in a desert, afar from men, or in a church, while the body is kneeling, the soul may pollute itself even with those crimes, which we are accustomed to deem altogether carnal. If this be true, it is a fearful truth.

Let us illustrate the subject by an imaginary example. A venerable gentleman, one Mr. Smith, who had long been regarded as a pattern of moral excellence, was warming his aged blood with a glass or two of generous wine... Continue reading book >>

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