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John Inglefield's Thanksgiving (From: "The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales")   By: (1804-1864)

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John Inglefield's Thanksgiving, a story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne as part of his collection "The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales," is a captivating and thought-provoking tale that explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the complexities of human nature.

The story revolves around the protagonist, John Inglefield, a man who has led a solitary and melancholy life ever since losing his parents at a young age. As Thanksgiving approaches, John's dull routine is interrupted when he receives an invitation from his childhood friend Reuben Bourne to spend it in the company of his family. Grateful for this unexpected kindness, John ventures to Reuben's home, hoping that this celebration will bring some much-needed cheer into his life.

However, upon arriving at the Bourne household, John is taken aback by the sight of three generations coming together to celebrate Thanksgiving. He witnesses the genuine love and joy present among the families, contrasting sharply with his own solitary existence. These observations stir long-buried emotions within him and make him reevaluate the choices he has made throughout his life.

The story beautifully portrays Hawthorne's signature style of exploring the human psyche and the inherent contradictions within individuals. As John Inglefield reflects on his past, he experiences a range of emotions: regret for the life he has led, longing for the love and companionship he has missed, and a profound yearning for redemption.

What makes this story truly remarkable is Hawthorne's ability to delve into the intricacies of his characters, exposing their vulnerabilities and flaws. The author skillfully portrays John Inglefield's internal struggle, making the reader empathize with his loneliness while also questioning the choices he has made. Through this, Hawthorne explores the essential human desire for connection and the consequences of living a life devoid of it.

In addition to its compelling characters, John Inglefield's Thanksgiving is also noteworthy for its vivid and descriptive prose. Hawthorne's rich and evocative language expertly captures the essence of the Thanksgiving celebration, immersing the reader in the sights, sounds, and even the aromas of the holiday. With each word, the story comes alive, making it an engrossing and immersive experience.

Overall, John Inglefield's Thanksgiving is a poignant and introspective tale that delves into the depths of the human soul. Nathaniel Hawthorne skillfully weaves a narrative that explores the themes of love, sacrifice, and longing, leaving the reader questioning the choices made in life. With its captivating characters and evocative prose, this story is a precious addition to Hawthorne's body of work and a true gem in the realm of American literature.

First Page:






Nathaniel Hawthorne

On the evening of Thanksgiving day, John Inglefield, the blacksmith, sat in his elbow chair, among those who had been keeping festival at his board. Being the central figure of the domestic circle, the fire threw its strongest light on his massive and sturdy frame, reddening his rough visage, so that it looked like the head of an iron statue, all aglow, from his own forge, and with its features rudely fashioned on his own anvil. At John Inglefield's right hand was an empty chair. The other places round the hearth were filled by the members of the family, who all sat quietly, while, with a semblance of fantastic merriment, their shadows danced on the wall behind then. One of the group was John Inglefield's son, who had been bred at college, and was now a student of theology at Andover. There was also a daughter of sixteen, whom nobody could look at without thinking of a rosebud almost blossomed. The only other person at the fireside was Robert Moore, formerly an apprentice of the blacksmith, but now his journeyman, and who seemed more like an own son of John Inglefield than did the pale and slender student... Continue reading book >>

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