Books Should Be Free
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Wives of the Dead (From: "The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales")   By: (1804-1864)

Book cover

The Wives of the Dead, a short story in Nathaniel Hawthorne's collection "The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales," delves into the depths of grief and the haunting power of memories. Set in a rural New England town, Hawthorne skillfully examines the aftermath of death and the peculiar bonds that tie the living to the departed.

The narrative focuses on two sisters, Clara and Mary, who find themselves married to brothers who tragically die during a harsh winter storm. As the somber tale progresses, Hawthorne unveils a beautifully unsettling exploration of loss, loneliness, and the transformative power of sorrow.

What makes this story truly captivating is the poignant portrayal of grief through the eyes of the bereaved wives. Hawthorne's vivid descriptions and careful attention to detail evoke a haunting atmosphere that envelops the reader. As the two women mourn the loss of their spouses, their contrasting reactions expose the intricacies of human emotions.

Clara, characterized by her fragility and delicate nature, withdraws from the world, immersing herself in the memory of her husband. She clings to cherished keepsakes and loses herself in the realms of her imagination. Mary, on the other hand, adopts a stoic approach, finding solace in her daily routine and responsibilities. The stark contrast between the sisters highlights the individuality of grief and the idiosyncrasies of coping mechanisms.

Throughout the story, Hawthorne seamlessly blends realism with supernatural elements, adding a layer of mystery to the narrative. Strange occurrences and peculiar encounters with the deceased husbands raise questions about the boundary between the living and the dead. These elements serve to heighten the sense of unease and contribute to the overall eerie tone of the story.

Hawthorne's prose, as always, is elegant and evocative. His mastery of language transports the reader to the wintry landscapes of New England, where the biting cold mirrors the harsh reality of loss. The author's deep understanding of human nature is evident in his nuanced portrayal of grief, making the characters and their experiences feel incredibly real and relatable.

"The Wives of the Dead" is a haunting tale that explores the intricacies of mourning and the ways in which grief can mold and transform individuals. Hawthorne's ability to blend the supernatural with the mundane results in a thought-provoking story that lingers long after the final page. It serves as a reminder of the enduring power of love and the complexity of human emotions, rendering it a worthy addition to "The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales."

First Page:






Nathaniel Hawthorne

The following story, the simple and domestic incidents of which may be deemed scarcely worth relating, after such a lapse of time, awakened some degree of interest, a hundred years ago, in a principal seaport of the Bay Province. The rainy twilight of an autumn day, a parlor on the second floor of a small house, plainly furnished, as beseemed the middling circumstances of its inhabitants, yet decorated with little curiosities from beyond the sea, and a few delicate specimens of Indian manufacture, these are the only particulars to be premised in regard to scene and season. Two young and comely women sat together by the fireside, nursing their mutual and peculiar sorrows. They were the recent brides of two brothers, a sailor and a landsman, and two successive days had brought tidings of the death of each, by the chances of Canadian warfare and the tempestuous Atlantic. The universal sympathy excited by this bereavement drew numerous condoling guests to the habitation of the widowed sisters. Several, among whom was the minister, had remained till the verge of evening; when, one by one, whispering many comfortable passages of Scripture, that were answered by more abundant tears, they took their leave, and departed to their own happier homes... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books