The Scarlet Letter - Study Guide The Custom House Summary & Analysis

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Hawthorne says he has been seized by an impulse to write another autobiographical essay, this time about his three-year experience at the Custom-House. His motivation for this is that the book, The Scarlet Letter, which is extracted from authentic historical writings which he found while at the Custom-House. In regards to the book he is, in fact, little more than an editor.

Salem, Hawthorne's hometown, is the site of a once-bustling wharf. It is now a repository of the relics of ancient warehouses and buildings, as well as the occasional port for a schooner or barge relieving itself of its wares. It is for these vessels that the Custom-House exists for the purpose of collecting taxes.

On occasion, indeed, still in Hawthorne's time, there is a bustle of activity and one can see shipmasters and owners, sailors and merchants clustering together to deal...

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This section contains 1,171 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Scarlet Letter Study Guide
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The Scarlet Letter from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.