Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 216
One of the main themes in Wakefield by Nathaniel Hawthorne is human alienation. The main character, Wakefield, decides to leave his family and observes them from a building within the neighborhood for two decades. Hawthorne suggests that one of the reasons for human alienation is vanity. For instance, Wakefield might have alienated himself so that he could see how his family would continue living without him.
Another theme that is addressed in the story is the continuity of life. The author implies that Wakefield wanted to know what would happen to his family if he were not present. However, what he does not foresee is that life will continue with or without him. The fact that his family continues living makes it difficult for him to go back home after 20 years.
The human way of life is another theme highlighted by Hawthorne. According to the author, people in the world follow systems where most of their life is spent working and raising children. Everyone seems to be in a rush to do something. The author notes that people are so busy that they can hardly notice that someone has gone missing. He highlights this way of life by revealing how Wakefield feels like an outcast after many years of isolation, because his presence is hardly remembered.