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Nathaniel Hawthornes ancestors immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 and settled in the town of Salem The history of Hawthornes family in the town of Salem would play a major role in his career as a writer as we will see with Young Goodman BrownMoss 421 Nathaniel Hawthorne himself was born in Salem Massachusetts in 1804 When he was four years old Nathaniels father Captain Nathaniel Hathorne died causing the family to lose touch with his fathers side of the familyWaggoner 5 Hawthorne later graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825 determined to become a writer The drive to become a writer caused him to spend the twelve years after graduation in a self-imposed isolation on the third floor of his uncles house During the twelve years he researched the local New England history to use in his stories In doing this he learned that his ancestors on his fathers side of whom he knew nothing had been political and religious Puritan leaders in SalemWaggoner 6 To understand the gravity of this discovery it must be understood that during the mid to late sixteen hundreds were the now famous Salem witch trials The Puritan colonists in Salem during the sixteen hundreds encountered a number of hardships harsh winters horrible taxes imposed on them by the British colonial government and an outbreak of smallpox All of these things combined with their bloody encounters with nearby Indian tribes could only be the work of the devil Subsequently the term witch humans who do the devils work was tossed around all too loosely When someone was deemed a witch and would not confess the result was always death Moss 421-422 It is believed that Hawthorne felt guilty about the participation of his ancestors in the witch trials and his work reflected it Turner 28-32 Hawthorne
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