The Great Stone Face (BookRags) Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 22 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Great Stone Face.
This section contains 454 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Great Stone Face (BookRags) Summary & Study Guide Description

The Great Stone Face (BookRags) Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on The Great Stone Face (BookRags) by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Great Stone Face.” Hawthorne’s Short Stories. New York: Vintage Books, 2011. 357-375. Print.

The story opens in a spacious valley between several large mountains. The valley contains several villages and thousands of residents. Among them is a young boy named Ernest, who lives in a humble cottage with his kind mother. On one of the mountains is a natural rock formation that resembles a human face. It is called the Great Stone Face, and it is prophesied that one day, someone born in the valley will grow up, achieve greatness, and will distinctly resemble the Great Stone Face. Ernest is a kind, gentle boy who admires the Great Stone face and its apparent expression of kindness and serenity. He hopes to one day meet the man of the prophecy.

One day, a man named Mr. Gathergold arrives in the valley. He was born in the valley, left, and became a very wealthy merchant. Many of the Valley’s residents believe that he could be the man of the prophecy. However, when Ernest sees Mr. Gathergold, Ernest notes Gathergold’s selfish personality and the shrewd expression on Gathergold’s face, which does not resemble the Great Stone Face. Years pass, and as a young man, Ernest continues to be kind and gentle. One day, a famous general called Old-Blood-and-Thunder arrives in town. He was born in the valley. However, when Ernest sees him, Ernest realizes that he could not be the man of the prophecy, as his face is warlike and strong-willed and does not resemble the serene Great Stone Face. More years pass, and Ernest becomes a kind preacher. A famous politician, who was born in the valley, returns to the valley for a visit. However, his face is dour and full of cynicism, and it does not resemble the Great Stone Face.

In his old age, Ernest is widely renowned for his wisdom, virtue, and original ways of thinking. People from distant parts of the country travel to the valley to meet him. One day, a renowned poet who was born in the valley visits Ernest. Ernest is disappointed, as the poet does not seem to be the man of the prophecy either. The poet himself admits that although his poems are beautiful, he himself lacks faith in the beauty of the world. That same day, Ernest gives an outdoor sermon, and the assembled people note that Ernest looks just like the Great Stone Face. However, Ernest does not believe himself to be the man of the prophecy, and he hopes that someday, someone better than himself will arrive and fulfill the prophecy.

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This section contains 454 words
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