My Kinsman, Major Molineux Essay

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In the following essay, Jones explores Hawthorne's vagueness surrounding his meaning of "shrewdness" in "My Kinsman, Major Molineux.'

Nathaniel Hawthorne's tale of mid-eighteenth century Massachusetts, "My Kinsman, Major Molineux," is woven around an ambiguous use of the term "shrewd." Five sets of oppositions, or tensions, are established in the opening pages, developed throughout the narrative and contrasted in a climactic scene. Robin's shrewdness, if proven beyond reasonable doubt, resolves these tensions in his shout of laughter and brings the story to a successful conclusion. Recent criticism has stressed sub-conscious factors when explaining Robin's laugh. My analysis indicates that his motivation is primarily conscious, that his decision represents a complex historical development. As such the story assumes a new dimension, a biting commentary on a human nature too prone to choose the expedient.

The Colonial reaction against Royal officials and the court party in Massachusetts prior to the...

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This section contains 2,134 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the My Kinsman, Major Molineux Study Guide
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