What is the oldest daughter's name?In the first paragraph of "The Ambitious Guest", the word "happiness" was capitalized to describe the oldest daughter.  Can you clarify if Hawthorne tried to...

What is the oldest daughter's name?

In the first paragraph of "The Ambitious Guest", the word "happiness" was capitalized to describe the oldest daughter.  Can you clarify if Hawthorne tried to show that regardless of how dangerous the outside world is, the family is very content within themselves or simply "Happiness" is her name?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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"The Ambitious Guest" by Nathaniel Hawthorne does not include the names of the characters. It is traditional for Hawthorne to refer to abstract things by using capital letters as a way to enforce their importance. In The Scarlet Letter, for example, he uses a similar creative license to refer to "Providence" as a way to ascertain the power of destiny in the lives of Hester, Dimmesdale, and Pearl.

Similarly, "The Ambitious Guest" shows the use of the word "Happiness" with a capital letter as an indicator to the state of joy under which this family is living while outside of their home danger, death and tragedy lurks closer and closer. Happiness is quite an unnatural emotional state for people who live in constant fear for their lives. Emphasizing that they can still achieve a sense of happiness gives a twist to the plot and makes the suspense even greater.

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