The short story "The Celestial Railroad" by Nathaniel Hawthorne has similarities to the famous novel The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, and it even refers to Bunyan's tale in the text. Both stories are descriptions of dreams. However, Hawthorne's story does not have the overt Christian message that Bunyan's does. Additionally, the unnamed narrator in "The Celestial Railroad" does not undertake his journey out of a spiritual need for salvation, but merely "to gratify a liberal curiosity."
In the dream, the narrator has heard that a railway now exists between the City of Destruction and the Celestial City, and he decides to take a ride on it. His companion in his coach is Mr. Smooth-it-away, who has never visited the Celestial City but is familiar with the City of Destruction.
A bridge takes them over the Slough of Despond, and Mr. Smooth-it-away explains that the bridge's foundation is comprised of various books of morality, philosophy, and theology. Christian's friend Evangelist from The...
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