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Old Ticonderoga, a Picture of the Past (From: "The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales")   By: (1804-1864)

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne's collection of short stories, "The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales," one standout piece is "Old Ticonderoga, a Picture of the Past." Set in the backdrop of the well-known Fort Ticonderoga, this story weaves historical elements with Hawthorne's signature themes of guilt and redemption.

The story transports readers to a time long gone, to a place haunted by the secrets of the past. Hawthorne artfully paints a vivid picture of the ancient fort, once a site of military triumph and tragedy, now in ruins. Through his evocative descriptions, the reader can almost feel the weight of time and the ghosts that haunt the stone walls.

The protagonist, Major Molinell, embodies many of the familiar themes present in Hawthorne's works. Tormented by a dark secret, he wrestles with guilt and struggles to find redemption. As he wanders the deserted fort, memories of his involvement in a shadowy event come flooding back, taking the reader on a journey of self-discovery.

Hawthorne's masterful storytelling skill shines through, blending the historical context seamlessly with the protagonist's introspection. As Major Molinell confronts the remnants of his past, the reader is absorbed in his inner turmoil. The author's choice to interweave past and present adds depth to the narrative, allowing the reader to reflect on the timeless nature of guilt and the potential for redemption.

One of the most compelling aspects of Hawthorne's writing is his ability to explore the human psyche in profound ways. In "Old Ticonderoga," he delves into the complexities of guilt and the effect it has on an individual's life. Through Major Molinell's journey, Hawthorne forces the reader to contemplate the consequences of secret sins and question the true nature of redemption.

While "Old Ticonderoga, a Picture of the Past" may lack the overt romance or supernatural elements of some of Hawthorne's more well-known works, it more than makes up for it with its intricate examination of the human condition. Hawthorne's skill as a storyteller and his deftness in crafting compelling characters are evident throughout, making this story a must-read for fans of the author's work.

In this collection of "twice-told tales," "Old Ticonderoga" stands out as a haunting exploration of guilt and the search for redemption. Hawthorne's vivid descriptions and his ability to delve into the depths of the human psyche make this story a testament to his literary prowess. For those looking for a deeply introspective and thought-provoking read, "Old Ticonderoga, a Picture of the Past" is a captivating choice.

First Page:






Nathaniel Hawthorne

The greatest attraction, in this vicinity, is the famous old fortress of Ticonderoga, the remains of which are visible from the piazza of the tavern, on a swell of land that shuts in the prospect of the lake. Those celebrated heights, Mount Defiance and Mount Independence, familiar to all Americans in history, stand too prominent not to be recognized, though neither of them precisely corresponds to the images excited by their names. In truth, the whole scene, except the interior of the fortress, disappointed me. Mount Defiance, which one pictures as a steep, lofty, and rugged hill, of most formidable aspect, frowning down with the grim visage of a precipice on old Ticonderoga, is merely a long and wooded ridge; and bore, at some former period, the gentle name of Sugar Hill. The brow is certainly difficult to climb, and high enough to look into every corner of the fortress. St. Clair's most probable reason, however, for neglecting to occupy it, was the deficiency of troops to man the works already constructed, rather than the supposed inaccessibility of Mount Defiance... Continue reading book >>

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