Sunday, 11 February 2018

The Pomegranate Seeds by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Pomegranate Seeds by Nathaniel Hawthorne: When a good author chooses to retell a well-recognized story it's not solely sealed with the mark of his vision, the narrative itself is imbued with new contour, suggesting ways in which of reading that exhibit each the snap and also the connectedness of the initial story method on the far side its own time. We have numerous examples of modern writers responding to their mythic heritage by articulating their worldviews through the process of retelling and reorganizing various Classical texts. Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of America's greatest literary voices, looks at the Classical myth of Proserpina and represents the context in which the journey of a young girl to the underworld holds lessons for the reader of the modern world. The mythic frame that Hawthorne adopts is well known. It involves three characters, two of whom occupy places of prominence in the Greek pantheon: Demeter (also known as Ceres, the name that Hawthorne adopts) and Pluto, the Greek god of the underworld. The third character, not as authoritative or powerful as the other two, however, in Hawthorne's rendition, holds the key to the way the narrative is designed, and she is the daughter of Ceres, Proserpina. What Hawthorne does is to concentrate on the experience and journey of this young girl, untutored as she is, and tracks her strongminded and resolute character in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. She holds on to her values till the very end, succumbing not by intention, but because of her ignorance of the ways in which Pluto takes advantage of her innocence. The moral lessons that Hawthorne imparts are thus not merely directed to the tragic consequence of an unintentional act alone, he imbibes his pivotal character with enduring values that show the merit of determination in spite of the fact that the consequences turn out to be something she cannot control. In Hawthorne's narrative, Proserpine is blessed with a motivating heroic quality, bravery that stands get in the lace of opposition a lot of mightier than her.

The Pomegranate Seeds by Nathaniel Hawthorne


In Hawthorne's version, there's the expansion motif within the characterization of Proserpine that is foregrounded to gift each the transformative and also the adjustive processes to that she is subject, thereby imbuing through her the extra themes of domesticity and survival. Her resistance and heroic challenge to the threat posed by Pluto and what he signifies are somewhat conditioned by her lack of awareness of the larger implications of what the hostage crisis involves in terms of the pantheon's hierarchical dynamics. We can see how Hawthorne places the innocence of his protagonist at the forefront of the narrative, which, in fact, serves as her shield, something that Pluto finds extremely difficult to break down. When she is asked by her mother whether she partook of anything in the underworld, the taking of the pomegranate seeds appears to her to be quite an innocuous act because she is not familiar with the way actions can have implications beyond what is immediately seen or known. What is fascinating, and this is the twist that Hawthorne brings in at the end of the narrative, is that she defends Pluto and his world when her mother sinks into remorse following the realization that her partaking of the seeds would distance her from her own world for half the year. For Proserpina, this isn't much of a matter of concern, because she sees things through her apolitical perspective whereby the arrangement seems to her to be quite valid and understandable. For Ceres, this is not how things stand, as it affects the political dynamics of the Olympian world where slight shifts in hierarchy affect a much wider field that can be ordinarily imagined.

The symbolic significance of the seeds and what its consumption entails extends on the far side the circumstance of the narrative. At one level, then, Hawthorne is trying to emphasize the need for caution, which incidentally Proserpina demonstrated quite well, and at another, there is the focus on the complications that can arise from a seemingly innocent act. Such an orientation draws attention to the nature of the audience Hawthorne was writing his story for, because, couched within the moral fabric, there is another dimension that shows how relationships are not static or fixed but are affected and considerably modified by experience. When Proserpina is cautious about judging Pluto on the basis on his reputation, she is showing the kind of open-mindedness that is not part of the worldview she is expected to have. In that Proserpina's character is taken beyond the ambit of the 'succumbing victim' image, and her personality and character acquire something that is not predictable. If we consider the storyline and movement of the narrative threads that hold it together, we can see how Hawthorne does not deviate from the frame of the Classical tale, for the plot moves in the direction, it does in the myth. Yet, there's that particular mark of the writer's vision that creates it therefore appealing, a vision that's evident altogether the stories in Tanglewood Tales, the gathering wherever we discover this account too.