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||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 4 to 7
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||embroidery, preschool, psychological, romance, novels, literature, classic, definitely, education, consul, colorful, miraculous, writing, biography, settled, breast
||Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Franklin Pierce, President Pierce, Bowdoin College, Boston Custom House, Sophia Peabody, Ralph Waldo Emerson, United States
By Colleen Messina
1 Colorful letters usually are associated with preschool alphabet lessons, but one author became famous for a colorful letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne's story, The Scarlet Letter, was a 19th-century best seller.
2 Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts. The town had been settled by the Puritans in the 1600s. The Puritans, including Hawthorne's ancestors, were part of the Salem witch trials. They treated people accused of being witches cruelly, and many people lost their lives needlessly. Nathaniel Hawthorne felt guilty about how his ancestors acted, and it influenced his short stories and novels.
3 Nathaniel's young life was a mixture of sadness and luck. He lost his father, who was a sea captain, when he was only four years old. Fortunately, he had a rich uncle who wanted to take care of the boy's future. His uncle paid for his college education because his relatives thought that the boy had literary abilities.
4 Nathaniel had some famous friends at college. He knew the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Franklin Pierce, the future president. These friends also helped Nathaniel later in different ways. Hawthorne later wrote a biography about Pierce for his campaign. President Pierce later gave his friend the position of consul in Liverpool for his help.
5 After he graduated from Bowdoin College, Nathaniel got a job at the Boston Custom House. He married an illustrator named Sophia Peabody in 1842 and continued to write stories. He didn't like his first stories too much. Later, he withdrew them because he thought they were not good enough. The Hawthornes spent some time traveling in England, France, and Italy. They were both people who liked to stay by themselves, and one of their favorite activities was to go on long walks. Sophia always thought that her husband's writing had a "miraculous wealth of thoughts."
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