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What could be Hawthorne's theme or purpose for writing the story, "The Ambitious...

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katrinaexconde | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 21, 2008 at 4:44 AM via web

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What could be Hawthorne's theme or purpose for writing the story, "The Ambitious Guest"?

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rleahennis | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 21, 2008 at 1:04 PM (Answer #2)

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The theme or purpose is to convey the importance, security and sanctity of the home, while warning of the perrils of ambition and of the desire for fame/immortality. When you look at the ambitious guest, he has traveled far and wide, but has done nothing, stayed in no place long enough to do anything, established no roots, ingratiated himself to no one, no community, no family, nothing. When the rockslide occurs, and both he and the family he was staying with perish, the family is at least remembered throughout the land in which the family resided, the ambitious guest is not. The theme is further emphasized by the fact that the family and guest left the home when they heard the slide, assuming it would be safer elsewhere. The house was untouched by the slide, strong enough to endure, whereas the family and guest outside the home perished. All the ambitions the family had dreamed up since the guest arrived required leaving their home, the one enduring thing in the family's life.   

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weddanever | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted September 2, 2009 at 4:29 AM (Answer #3)

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Is the writings of Hawthorne synonymous with that of Edgar Allan Poe?  Edgar also write story which are too hard to comprehend.

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weddanever | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted September 2, 2009 at 4:35 AM (Answer #4)

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What is the main reason why Hawthorne uses the force of nature to give a lesson to the stranger?

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suesan | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted December 16, 2011 at 12:38 AM (Answer #5)

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The purpose is that people dream to be famous and they have many wishes,  but  they die before achieving them.

 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 10, 2013 at 8:13 PM (Answer #6)

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As a Dark Romanticist, Nathaniel Hawthorne perceived a dark side to Nature and humans, both. Thus, his view of the world was in opposition to the optimistic one of the Romantics and Transcendentalists.  The avalanche that disturbs the romantic dreams of the guest and, in turn, inspires the family is symbolic of the gratuitous evil that exists in the world.

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