My Kinsman, Major Molineux

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


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Tale by Hawthorne, first published in The Token (1832) and collected in The Snow-Image. Robert Lowell adapted it as a one-act verse play in The Old Glory (1965).

Set in Boston during a period when the colonists were opposing the royal government, the story tells of an 18-year-old country boy, Robin, who comes to town to make his fortune and to seek the aid of his important kinsman, one Major Molineux. He is rebuffed by everyone of whom he inquires, and spends an unhappy “evening of ambiguity and weariness” in his quest. Finally he discovers the Major being hauled through town, tarred and feathered, as all the citizenry laugh at him, and as the contagion seizes Robin his “shout was the loudest there.”

Subjects: Literature.

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