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Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Ambitious Guest" is set in a cottage in the Notch of the White Hills, "a cold spot and a dangerous one... for a mountain towered above their heads, so steep, that the stones would often rumble down its sides and startle them at midnight." This place is described as having "sharp" winds and unforgivably cold winters. Despite it being a perilous place to make one's home, the family who lives there in solitude believes that the place is "romantic" and that there is a safe spot outside the cottage which may protect them in the event of a serious rockslide.
The setting is so significant in this story because it is what ultimately causes the death of the family and the "ambitious" guest who has paused to visit them. While the guest and family swaps stories of their dreams and hopes and intentions for their legacy, the rocks begin to crumble down the mountainside. They try to flee to this alleged "safe space," but are instead swept away in rockslide, with their bodies never to be found.
The setting of the story is a rural cabin that sits at the base of an unstable mountain. The family often hears rumblings from the mountain.
"Although they are entirely comfortable, mention is made of the harsh winter weather and the dangerous position of the cottage, over which towers a mountain. The noise of stones tumbling down the mountain has often startled the family at midnight."
Notch in White Hills
specific : cottage.
Time : one September night.
Notch of the White Hills, Massachusetts
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