Nathaniel Hawthorne’s brilliant short story, Wakefield, thrills the reader to the core, and forever established him as a master storyteller.
The premise is strikingly brilliant and modern: a man who has lived for years with his wife suddenly walks out of his house, moves a short distance away, and never comes back.
In Hawthorne’s own words: “The man, under presence of going a journey, took lodgings in the next street to his own house; and there, unheard of by his wife or friends, and without the shadow of a reason for such self-banishment, dwelt upwards of twenty years…”
We struggle to understand what seems senseless. But Hawthorne uses this to argue our ultimate isolation. The sentiment that developed between this man and his wife is illustrative of many relationships. We cohabit—but are we really together?
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (1804-1864), one of the greatest authors of the nineteenth century, transformed the art of fiction. The author of numerous novels and short stories, including The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables, he was an acknowledged master of the form, and admired for his explorations of ancestral sin, guilt, and the concept of justice.
PHILIP DOSSICK is the New York Times critically acclaimed writer and director of the motion picture The P.O.W. He has written for television, including the outstanding drama, Transplant, produced by David Susskind for CBS. His most recent books include Aztecs: Epoch Of Social Revolution, Sex And Dreams, Mark Twain In Seattle, and Raymond Chowder And Bob Skloot Must Die.