The narrator mentions that he's since lost his job at the Custom House. He draws a distinction between his "figurative self," whom the public would expect to be dismayed by the lost job, and the "real human being" who welcomed the changes in his life that allowed him to become "again a literary man. The narrator's split public and private identity mirrors Hester and Dimmesdale's experience of the pressure to conform to the public expectations of the community. The narrator says he now has the time to write The Scarlet Letter , a story he feels obligated to tell the world.
He hopes to make his own mark as a writer and be remembered as a "scribbler of bygone days. The narrator writes with a sense of purpose: He also seeks fame. Retrieved September 14, Download this Chart PDF. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion! Get the Teacher Edition. All sailors, sea captains, merchants, and sea traders are required to report directly to the Custom when they land to pay tax on their imported goods.
Things aren't so hopping in this particular Custom House in Salem—business has slowed down and the building itself is falling apart. The narrator describes a statue of the American eagle i. Over the entrance hovers an enormous specimen of the American eagle, with outspread wings, a shield before her breast, and, if I recollect aright, a bunch of intermingled thunderbolts and barbed arrows in each claw.
With the customary infirmity of temper that characterizes this unhappy fowl, she appears, by the fierceness of her beak and eye, and the general truculency of her attitude, to threaten mischief to the inoffensive community. We all know the eagle is one of the most famous and beloved symbols of America and of the freedom that America represents.
Here, however, we get the image of a very unwelcoming and unfeeling symbol, one that doesn't care whether you survive or not. In other words, have all the freedom you want—including the freedom to die uncared for. He worried that he would be unable to recall the details he observed on the job when they mattered: Brook Farm was founded by Transcendentalist George Ripley on the principle that, by sharing their labor, members would receive not only a profit but plenty of time to learn, think, and discuss.
Hawthorne was skeptical of the idea, but he needed the money. He had fallen in love with a woman named Sophia Peabody and wanted money to start their life together. At first he gloried in the labor, enjoying the fresh air and the hearty feeling of working with his hands. Within a few months, he realized that the exhausting life of a farmer was consuming all of his energy—energy that he needed for writing. Fortunately, Sophia didn't mind marrying a poor man.
A summary of The Custom-House: Introductory in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Scarlet Letter and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.
The Custom-House marker imprinted it, with a stencil and black paint, on pepper-bags, and baskets of anatto, and cigar-boxes, and bales of all kinds of dutiable merchandise, in testimony that these commodities had paid the impost, and gone regularly through the office.
The Custom House is largely an autobiographical sketch describing Hawthorne's life as an administrator of the Salem Custom House. It was written to enlarge the tale of The Scarlet Letter, since Hawthorne deemed the story too short to print by itself. In , he quit the Custom House for a more interesting experiment. Hawthorne agreed to purchase a $ share in a new utopian community in West Roxbury, Massachusetts named Brook Farm.
In "The Custom-House," we find out that our narrator is the chief executive officer of the Salem Custom-House sometime during the mids). His account is a mixture of fact and fiction and loosely follows the story of how Hawthorne himself came to write The Scarlet Letter. A Custom House is a governmental building situated near a port or a wharf. Furthermore, Hawthorne, in his story, "Endicott and the Red Cross," published nine years before he took his Custom House position, described the incident of a woman who, like Hester Prynne, was forced to wear a letter A on her breast.