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The Lily's Quest (From "Twice Told Tales")   By: (1804-1864)

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The Lily's Quest by Nathaniel Hawthorne, featured in the collection "Twice Told Tales," is a captivating and thought-provoking short story that explores the themes of love, ambition, and the search for meaning in life.

The narrative follows the adventurous journey of Lily, a young and determined woman who sets out to uncover the mysterious origins of a beautiful lily that appeared in her garden. As she embarks on her quest, Hawthorne skillfully weaves together elements of fairy tales and moral allegories, creating a tale that is both enchanting and morally instructive.

Hawthorne's rich and descriptive prose transports readers to a world where nature and human intentions collide. The vivid imagery employed throughout the story adds depth to the narrative, making the various settings come alive. Whether it be the lush garden, the quaint village, or the ominous forest, each location serves as a symbolic backdrop for Lily's transformative journey.

One of the notable aspects of this story is the complex character of Lily. With her unwavering determination and pure-heartedness, she embodies both innocence and ambition. Throughout her quest, Lily encounters various challenges and obstacles, which test her resolve and integrity. These trials serve as allegories for the moral dilemmas we face in our own lives, forcing readers to reflect upon their own virtues and motivations.

Furthermore, Hawthorne expertly explores the theme of love in its various forms. Lily's relationship with her family, her village, and the natural world around her is portrayed with tenderness and authenticity. The love she feels for the lily, which serves as a symbol of her aspirations and desires, is both captivating and poignant. This exploration of love serves as a reminder of the power of passion and the importance of nurturing our deepest desires.

Overall, The Lily's Quest is a masterfully crafted tale that combines elements of fantasy, morality, and human nature. Hawthorne's skill in storytelling and his ability to arouse both the imagination and the conscience make this story a true gem. As readers accompany Lily on her quest, they are not only entertained but also compelled to reflect upon their own desires and the choices they make in pursuit of their dreams.

First Page:



By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Two lovers, once upon a time, had planned a little summer house, in the form of an antique temple, which it was their purpose to consecrate to all manner of refined and innocent enjoyments. There they would hold pleasant intercourse with one another, and the circle of their familiar friends; there they would give festivals of delicious fruit; there they would hear lightsome music, intermingled with the strains of pathos which make joy more sweet; there they would read poetry and fiction, and permit their own minds to flit away in daydreams and romance; there, in short, for why should we shape out the vague sunshine of their hopes? there all pure delights were to cluster like roses among the pillars of the edifice, and blossom ever new and spontaneously. So, one breezy and cloudless afternoon, Adam Forrester and Lilias Fay set out upon a ramble over the wide estate which they were to possess together, seeking a proper site for their Temple of Happiness. They were themselves a fair and happy spectacle, fit priest and priestess for such a shrine; although, making poetry of the pretty name of Lilias, Adam Forrester was wont to call her LILY, because her form was as fragile, and her cheek almost as pale... Continue reading book >>

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