“Wakefield” by Hawthorne Reflection Character Analysis

Nathaniel Hawthorne is famous for inspiring people though his writings. He is also very well known as the writer of fictional stories that were what drove the romanticism movement. Generally, his reoccurring theme strikes the wickedness and sin of humanity. All of his works derive to an apparent meaning of morality, but some of them Hawthorne makes the reader dig deeper to understand a more obscure message. In his narrative “Wakefield,” Hawthorne presents the reader with what seems to be like an erroneous and very simple story.

Throughout the whole narrative, Hawthorne has the readers questioning Wakefield’s character and actions. “Why would he leave his wife to move on the next street over? ” “Why would he spend so much time watching her but be to stubborn to return? ” “What was he waiting for? ” My curiosity is what led me to realize the theme of the story. After misleading his friends and family, Wakefield rented a place close to the house to secretly watch how his wife reacts to his absence.

He wanted to know how much damage it would cause if he was missing and how much pain she would feel knowing that he had left. What he didn’t realize was the aftermath of the damage and pain he had caused. However, what struck me the most was when he states, “amid the seeming confusion of our mysterious world, individuals are so nicely adjusted to a system, and systems to one another and to a whole, that, by stepping aside for a moment, a man exposes himself to a fearful risk of losing his place forever”[1].

I felt like this piece showcases the message rooted deeper than the theme of the story. Hawthorne uses this quote to describe Wakefield as alone and desolate; that he separated from his life and left himself isolated from the world. Furthermore is the underlying idea that once a person is able to view their life from the outside and recognize the value of it, it soon becomes clear how hard it is to reenter that life.

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