Nathaniel Hawthorne Questions and Answers

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  "David Swan" is set: (A) in a big city, (B) on a farm, or (C) along a well-traveled road?

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Valentine England eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "David Swan" is set along a well-travelled road, or "Answer C." While traveling by foot to Boston to go work at the counter of his uncle's grocery store, David stops at a recess in the midst of a "little tuft of maples." Away from the harsh rays of the summer sun and the dust of the road, David falls into a deep sleep. While he naps, several other people pass by him: a gentleman and lady in a carriage who comment that he is sleeping the slumber of a young and trouble-free mind and who wish to make him their son, a pretty girl who shoos a bee away from him with her handkerchief and admires his good looks, and two bad men who nearly murder him. David eventually wakes, unaware at all the opportunities (both good and bad) that had passed him while he slept.

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mizzwillie eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The answer to your question is that the short story "David Swan" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is set along a well-traveled road.  David is on his way to Boston and chooses to rest in a quiet glen next to a busy road where many travelers see him.  The first two sets of travelers would have given him good opportunities to earn his fortune, but David is asleep and they do not wake him.  The third set of travelers who stop would have killed David if he had come out of his sleep, but he did not so David lived.  Hawthorne always believed that we have and make or miss many opportunities in our lives, and we need to be aware of what is there to choose correctly.

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