Great Stone Face

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Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804—1864) American novelist and short-story writer


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Allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in The Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales (1851). “Old Stony Phiz” is said to represent Webster.

In a mountain valley dominated by a towering rock formation that resembles a noble, majestic face lives the boy Ernest, who learns from his mother the legend that some day a great man bearing the features of the Face will visit the community. He eagerly awaits the coming of this man, but, though he grows to old age and sees Mr. Gathergold the banker, Old Blood-and-Thunder the general, and Old Stony Phiz the statesman, all reputed to resemble the Face, his expectations are disappointed. He has meanwhile lived an honest, helpful life, communing with the spirit of the landmark, and has come to be honored and revered. A poet visits him, in whom again Ernest hopes to see the features of the image but fails. At an outdoor meeting where Ernest preaches, the poet sees that it is Ernest himself who resembles the Stone Face. The simple, venerable old man, unconscious of this, continues to await his hero.

Subjects: Literature.

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