Analysis of “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
In the short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne entitled “My Kinsman, Major Molineux,” a tale of the quest made by Robin, a youth who is relative of Major Molineux, is shown in light of different elements and twists. The main character, Robin, has started to become acquainted with new discoveries made with that of the place and the life that is drawn for him in the land where he went to. There is very stark evidence that shows the difference between the character presented in the beginning of the story and that which is shown at the end.
It is through the different elements that are included within the story that the change of character is brought about into existence.
Recounting the story of Robin, he came into this new land carrying a dignified suit from his sister and mother and a sufficient amount of money from his father. The life that he took from that of the past, which is earnestly described in the latter part of the text, is not financially as great as one would think of.
His brother is able to achieve a significant level of success in life and that he is expected to become the same at a young age by making the necessary visit to his kin, Major Molinuex. He made this long trip with the support from his family and arrived at an unmentioned date. However, it is an antagonistic and unexpected atmosphere that welcomed him through the town. His journey through different places in town that lasted for dreadful hours after the long trip is beset with laughter that are taken from a negative point of view and antagonism that he could not even explain.
The change in the character of Robin is discernible. First, it is seen that the level of hope has been altered and diminished greatly. He came into the new town with the desire to meet his kin once more and rise into success through his help. There is a sense of yearning and courage that is seen from his thoughts. It is not a simple visit that is to be made but is actually for a long term of business that is intended for his personal acclaim. However, this has already been diminished as early as the middle part of the story. The experiences that he has to endure and the physical weariness that he has felt all contributed to this. The sneers and cold acceptance that he could not understand at first made him think and doubt about the events in the town and attributed this to his personal characteristics and also blamed it on the antagonistic nature of the people in the town. However, the hope that he held from the beginning of the story and constantly diminished throughout disappeared at the end. Ironically, the object to which his courage is projected, which is that of Major Molineux, became the reason why he lost all of it and decided to go back to where he started. It served as his failure that he is not able to achieve the goal that he intended for his journey and even wasted the amount of money that is intended for him by his family to attain the expected growth with his kin in this town.
Second, the way he accepted and responded to the different people he met have also varied throughout the trip he made. At first, he is filled with cheer and confidence as he carries with him the idea that the person he intends to see is of authority. There is, to a certain extent, an aura of boastfulness as he perceives and expects everyone to know the person he is talking about. Likewise, the thought that he is associated to someone with power has made him bear a higher level of strength and regard for himself despite being new to the town. He expects to be welcomed as any person would do for the civilian and be given extra credit as the person he is looking for is considered as an authority for most places. However, little does he know that the situation in the territory where he has gone is different and that power has evolved from that of Major Molineux. While little has been known about Major Molineux, it is seen from the latter parts that there is nothing in him that is in line with the thoughts and ideas that Robin once held in the beginning of the story.
As Robin became acquainted with several people, he has grown a sense of hesitation to certain points in the story in asking the people with regard to the information he needed. Where he noticed that there seems to be a pattern held for the responses the people made to his question, he became cautious and also demanding as uncertainty is also felt among the people. This stems from the fact that there is an uncertainty that sets in the story from among the people as no one directly told Robin the whereabouts of the person he is looking for. Likewise, neither did the townspeople told him about what happened to his relative that even made his search worse than he expected. At this point, the main response that can be distinguished from the acts of Robin is the uncertainty he has felt and the cautiousness that he exhibited in asking among the people. Yet, there remains the determination to find out.
In the end, his reaction when he found out about the truthful answer to his sole question eluded the brevity that he once held. He did not speak nor did he talk to his relative as he saw him. The realization struck him and it did not bring about a positive image for Robin. He is presented slightly as a coward who chose to run away from the truth than intend to achieve a better life without the help of Major Molineux. Neither did he intend to help his relative to whom he wished to benefit from in the first place.
While it is seen that relatives who are able to achieve something and is succeeding in different aspects of their life, especially in terms of uplifting the living conditions, the dependence that is placed on them could also be discouraging at times. This is especially true for Robin who experienced a great deal of hardships that in turn led to a failure. However, there remains the fact that he is given an option to be able to flourish and prosper on his own without depending on other people for his own sake.
There are different lessons that can be taken from the experience of Robin in this short story. First, it is seen that success could not be easily achieved by depending on other people. Indeed, human beings require the help of other as they make their way towards achieving the goals they set forth but the larger part of the initiative depends on the personal efforts made. In the story, it is shown that the efforts of traveling such a long distance do not suffice for the success that Robin intends to achieve. Second, power is not held in the hands of only one person and could always be taken away from them. This is true for both Major Molineux and Robin. The courage that Robin possesses in the beginning is easily removed from him because of the circumstances that are not within his control. Likewise, that of Major Molinuex’s position did not lasted as long as he expected it to be for him to be able to help the person who has arrived for him.
It can be said that throughout the story, there is a considerable change that is seen with that of Robin and this is affected by the situation of his kin that is unknown to him.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Snow-Image, and Other Twice-Told Tales. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1861.
Cite this Analysis of “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Analysis of “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. (2016, Oct 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/analysis-of-my-kinsman-major-molineux-by-nathaniel-hawthorne/