The ABCs of the Scarlet Letter

Article excerpt

Hawthorne's troubled relationship with the premier antebellum children's publisher and literary entrepreneur Samuel G. Goodrich is a well-known feature of the development of Hawthorne's career. Though Hawthorne complained that Goodrich was "not particularly trustworthy" and a "rogue" on the basis of bitter experience, it was Goodrich, not Hawthorne, whose successes in the two decades leading up to the publication of The Scarlet Letter read as an antebellum model of literary productivity and best-selling popular acclaim. (1) Just as the shape of Goodrich's career suggests that connection with the children's literary market was often linked to prosperity and fame more generally, The Scarlet Letter calls out for reconsideration in part as a reflection of Hawthorne's own conflicted intimacy with writings for children. By reading The Scarlet Letter as a primer for adults--a novel that challenges the definition of literacy itself in its refusal to articulate that word for which the novel's title presumably stands, and whose very structure as a mystery or detective story foregrounds the process of reading more generally--I suggest that The Scarlet Letter is inextricably linked to what could be called Hawthorne's own education in and indoctrination into the mysteries of the antebellum literary marketplace through the production of writings for children.

In a love letter to Sophia Peabody written in the fail of 1840, Hawthorne includes an ironic reference to his children's work Grandfather's Chair(1840), a book that he had hoped might prove a cash cow but whose poor sales led to compensatory labors in the barns of Brook Farm. Published by Sophia's sister Elizabeth earlier in 1840 and already hanging heavy on their collective hands, Hawthorne remarks: "And this reminds me to ask whether thou hast drawn those caricatures--especially the one of thy husband, staggering, and puffing, and toiling onward to the gate of the farm, burthened with the unsaleable remnant of Grandfather's Chair. Dear us, what a ponderous, leaden load it will be!" (2) Despite Hawthorne's self-deprecatory cheer, he would continue to be haunted by the remainders of his foray into the realm of children's literature as well as by what these books reminded him about his pecuniary failures in the world of antebellum publishing more generally. In the following months neither Brook Farm nor his writings for children were able to produce the solid returns he sought. After joining the community in April of 1841, he left only to return again in the fall of that same year in yet another fitful attempt to patch together his finances, an effort whose urgency was underscored by what was continuing to be a frustratingly lengthy engagement to Sophia Peabody.

In June of 1841, he wrote a letter that reeks of humiliation to Elizabeth Peabody about her attempts to interest the publishing house of James Munroe in the remainders of Grandfather's Chair. First published without illustrations--a serious error of judgement in the world of antebellum children's publishing--a new edition with cuts, Elizabeth was confident, would sell respectably, even though a sizeable quantity of the first edition was still languishing unsold. (3) In a rhetorical gesture that conveys the extent to which the author wished to distance himself from yet another financial chastening, received this time from the parental arm of the antebellum book-buying public, Hawthorne speaks of himself tersely in the third person: "Mr. Hawthorne particularly desires that the bargain with Mr. Munroe, in respect to the remaining copies of Grandfather's Chair, may be concluded on such terms as Miss Peabody thinks best, without further reference to himself." As Hawthorne angrily surmises, "Being wholly ignorant of the value of the books," the author "could do no other than consent to any arrangement" that Miss Peabody "might propose." (4) Hawthorne's use of the third person signals an ongoing "quarrel" with Elizabeth Peabody over what quite literally seems to be "the value of the books"; for, although Peabody did manage to interest the firm of Tappan and Dennet in a new edition (with illustrations by Sophia), she was still unable to dispose of the remainders of the first edition, and later advertised them for sale at half price, provoking another angry letter from "Mr. Hawthorne." (5)

Yet even as Hawthorne was living down this latest devaluation of his literary product, in October of 1841 the Southern Literary Messenger published an ode to one of the period's most successful exploiters of the children's market, with whom Hawthorne was all too familiar. In an unsigned review whose author should have known better than to refer to "the author" of "Peter Parley's Tales" in the singular, the Messenger gushes that "among the several streams which go to make up the great tide of advancement in civilization," one must include the "revolutionary" flood of children's texts issued under the pen of Samuel Griswold Goodrich, whose full name graces the headline of this ode to salability and progressive rationalism. Although the Messenger admits that "it is common to speak of the degeneracy of the times, we affirm that the moral and intellectual standard is higher in the country than at any former period"; the evidence of this progressive "spirit of the age" is Goodrich's transformation of the children's literary market. As the Messenger intones, "There are some persons, and those too among graduates of colleges, who mourn over the change of books for youth--who lament the disgrace into which Mother Goose, Tom Thumb, and Jack the Giant Killer, have fallen. But this mental obliquity only shows, that there are persons, whose minds are so perverted, by a false start in education, as never to have enjoyed the exercise of that good old-fashioned guide to truth--common sense." Like the grimly practical "man of business" who serves as ballast for the free-floating "tribe of unrealities" that haunt the impotent artist-narrator of "The Custom-House," Goodrich has proved that "truth may be made as attractive to youth as fiction," and "rendered as palatable as matters of mere fancy. (6) Finally, the proof that Goodrich has "redeemed the writing of children's books from the contempt in which it once was held" is in the balance sheet; for, as the Messenger insinuates, "the public generally appreciates the revolution to which we allude, and are ready to render the individual who has been its chief instrument, his due credit." (7)

In 1829, Hawthorne sent the first batch of what was to be a total of twenty-eight tales for publication in Goodrich's annual The Token (CE 15:199, 49). He was unable to interest Goodrich in a projected collection of stories, the Provincial Tales--Goodrich was far more interested in obtaining individual tales for The Token. In 1836, after Hawthorne had failed to find a publisher for another collection linked by a frame narrator (The Story-Teller), Goodrich helped Hawthorne secure a post as editor of the American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge, a position that promised the financially strapped author five hundred dollars a year, although payment was so delinquent that by September Hawthorne resigned, while the company that published the magazine (of which Goodrich was a stockholder) went into receivership. However, in May of that year he and his sister Elizabeth Ha[w]thorne began ghost writing one of Goodrich's children's ventures, Peter Parley's Universal History on the Basis of Geography (1837-), for which they were paid one hundred dollars. Like other successful producers of what Meredith McGill calls "mass-cultural and feminized forms, such as the eclectic magazine, the gift book, [and] the children's book," Goodrich made the canny decision to publish under a pseudonym, which enabled him to subsume the identities of hired hacks while controlling the dissemination of a marketable persona, in his case that genial, grandfatherly old gent, Peter Parley. (8) In the fall of 1836, Goodrich agreed to bring out Twice-told Tales after Horatio Bridge secretly offered to put up the money needed to secure the publisher from loss; the author was so grateful that he proposed to dedicate the volume to Goodrich, despite having referred to him privately as a "ridiculous man" (CE 15:245). (9) Thankfully, Bridge talked him out of such profligate generosity: "I fear you will hurt yourself by puffing Goodrich undeservedly ... for there is no doubt in my mind of his selfishness in regard to your work and yourself." (10) After Goodrich reaped his rewards from the Parley books, he claimed that "Goodrich Enterprises" took up the whole of the second floor of the bookshop and publishing headquarters bought by William D. Ticknor. (11)

Though Hawthorne recognized that he had never gotten credit where credit was due (he nurtured a grudge against Goodrich for the rest of his life), he was not immune to the larger antebellum fascination with the production of the literatures of the child, a genre that was so central to the book selling market in nineteenth-century America. (12) Long after he had ghost-written Peter Parley's Universal History on the Basis of Geography, given up his dealings with Goodrich, and renounced the experiment of Brook Farm, Hawthorne remained interested in children's literature and in what could be called the transcendental possibilities of childrearing practices, as did the reading public as a whole during the long decade before the publication of The Scarlet Letter. Through his connection to the Peabody sisters, he was intimately acquainted with Elizabeth, one of the prime movers behind Bronson Alcott's experimental Temple School and co-author with her sister Mary of that durable nineteenth-century childrearing classic, The Moral Culture of Infancy, first written in 1841. Elizabeth saw in Hawthorne's early tales the mark of a kindred spirit in educational reform; she early committed herself to what would become a lifelong interest in promoting Hawthorne's literary reputation because she imagined that his literary gifts could be used in the service of her pet projects, which included the education of the children and the reeducation of adults in terms of the child-centric romantic ideologies and practices to which she had devoted herself.

In 1838, Elizabeth wrote to her brother-in-law Horace Mann in an attempt to persuade him to "enlist" Hawthorne in the writing of "books for schoolchildren" (Mann, however, turned her down, apparently because he felt Hawthorne's Twice Told Tales didn't recommend the author as one who could produce requisitely didactic stories, inculcating "duty and devotion" in the child reader). (13) Further, Elizabeth's career offers eloquent testimony to the importance of innovation in childhood education during this period, as well as the high expectations for social change which were associated with these developments. And as Elizabeth Goodenough reminds us, one of Elizabeth Peabody's most receptive acolytes was "her younger sister Sophia." (14) Sophia was a true believer in the saintly child of the nineteenth-century romantic imagination: as she affirmed in the summer of 1847 in a letter to her absent husband, "In the very center of simultaneous screams from both darling little throats, I am quite as sensible of my happiness as when the most dulcet sounds are issuing thence. The screams are [merely] transient and superficial. The beauty & loveliness & nobleness & grace ... in the shape of these fair children which enchant all peoples ... these are permanent and immortal." (15) As T. Walter Herbert comments, this letter reads as a "monument" to "motherly and matrimonial fury," "repressed" in the service of antebellum ideologies of the child. (16) Sophia's heroic repression in the name of innocent transparency and antebellum idealism apparently continued; in an exclamation recorded in Hawthorne's Notebooks three years later, upon seeing "a baby's smile" Sophia reportedly burst out: "How pleasant it is to see a human countenance which cannot be insincere!" (CE 8:310).

Hawthorne's Notebooks also record his ongoing interest in the literatures of the child. During a period that spans his marriage through the birth of his three children, the Notebooks are liberally sprinkled with ideas for children's stories. From the coinage of "Miss Polly Syllable--a schoolmistress" to a possible sketch "For a child's story--the voyage of a little boat"; from "For a child's story, one of baby's rides in her little carriage, drawn by the other two children" to "The Magic Ray of Sunshine, for a child's story," Hawthorne's working out of the daily practices of his chosen profession is intimately linked to the writing of children's literature (CE 8:236, 305, 314, 243). Further, his detailed records of his children's youth--their games, their moods, their malapropisms--suggest that for Hawthorne the act of writing and the act of writing for and about children are contiguous. His entry in the summer of 1851, "Twenty Days with Julian and Little Bunny/By Papa" exemplifies this mixture, the "By Papa" suggesting that fatherhood for Hawthorne involves something of the putting on of a fictive persona (CE 8:436-86). Finally, these entries reveal that he actively wrestled with a skepticism that opposed the ideal child, while at the same time he maintained a progressive belief in transcendentalist ideologies which stipulated that not only the child but also the parent would be transformed into a finer person through the careful consideration of childrearing practices. As Hawthorne only half jokes in a Notebook entry for 1849, an observation finished off with no fewer than five exclamation points in a row, the tension between the ideal and the real was one that Hawthorne struggled with in life as well as in art. When in reply to the question "What are you good for?" little Julian announces "Because I love all people," Hawthorne ironically notes that "His mother will be in raptures with this response--a heavenly infant, powerless to do anything, but diffusing the richness of his pure love through the moral atmosphere, to make all mankind happier and better!!!!!" (CE 8:435).

As the record of the antebellum publishing industry suggests, the education of children was at the forefront of the national imagination if not its practice. One could say that the early to mid-nineteenth century was a series of "red letter" days for middle-class American children, whose educational and political futures were at the center of this movement. James Talbot, the eponymous hero of one of Sarah Savage's children's stories-cum-primers, literally has a red letter day; after coming home from his first day of school, James displays his treasures tn his approving family: his teacher "gave me a book with a pussy on it, and I know how to spell cat--c-a-t--and here is a red A." As the narrator explains, "Red letters were Mrs. Very's reward for the youngest children, and the boy who could count the most had the privilege of sitting next to her on the following week." (17) Savage, who is best known for The Factory Girl (1814), contributed to an ideology that would become a venerable tradition in the world of children's literature by the 1850s: the notion that reading and the taste for it was the sine qua non of moral, spiritual, and, most importantly, social uplift. Even though Mary the factory girl's employment of "reeling cotton" is "neither difficult nor laborious," the conscientious Dr. Mandeville, who identifies himself as "one of the proprietors of a cotton factory in this town," reminds us that factory labor is a dead-end occupation for children without the added benefit of an education that will eventually get them out of the factories:

   In these establishments the labours of children are so useful, as
   to render their wages a temptation to parents to deprive their
   offspring of the advantages of an education; and, for an immediate
   supply of pressing wants, to rob them of their just rights--the
   benefit of those public schools, which were founded peculiarly for
   the advantage of the poor. These thoughtless parents do not
   consider that they are taking away from their children an essential
   good, for which [ready] money cannot compensate. Ignorance will
   necessarily lessen their future respectability in society, and
   check the stimulating hope of rising to eminence, which, in a free
   country like ours, may and ought to be cherished.

Like her juvenile heroes and heroines, Savage's juvenile literature does double duty: not only does it do the work of instruction by using language that is simple enough for the child reader to master, but it also performs the larger task of enabling children to apprehend the emotional and spiritual markers of middle class sensibilities. For as Mary takes her boss's words to heart and brings literacy to the masses at an industry-sponsored Sunday school, she also teaches her pupils to internalize the disciplinary desires of their elders and betters: "She found little difficulty in governing, for she ruled her scholars by love. Proudly happy, indeed, was the favoured one, who received from her the reward of a flower, which was worn in triumph at the factory on the succeeding Monday." (18) In other words, literacy alone is not enough: children must also be psychically schooled in what Richard Brodhead calls "disciplinary intimacy" before they are ready to assume the conflicted position of middle-class antebellum adulthood. (19)

Like The Scarlet Letter, antebellum American children's literature as a whole achieves the curious feat of being both revolutionary and non-revolutionary at the same time: while these literatures promote the progressive and reformist goals of literacy and self-determinism, they are also remarkably tentative in their advocacy for social change. This paradox is at the center of Jonathan Lamb's The Child's Instructor (1829). In a preface directed "To Teachers," Lamb admonishes adults to "[t]each your pupils to think and judge for themselves," a prescription with revolutionary potential in an age of slavery, limited suffrage, and the veneration of patriarchal authority. Yet Lamb's primer also includes this definition of the word "revolution," aimed in this instance at the child reader: "revolution" is simply "the going round of any thing to the place from which it set out." (20) Fortunately, however, antebellum primers offer a solution to the tension between liberty and obedience that (as Laura Hanft Korobkin has recently argued) is also at the core of The Scarlet Letter; and the answer is: more reading. (21) In a Girl for a Little Child (1843), one of those charmingly tiny eight-page pamphlet-sized primers, an illustration of a boy with his book is underscored by the following caption:

   This boy loves his book. He will be wise and rich in all the good
   things of this world. He rises with the lark, at the dawn of day,
   studies well his lesson, and then off he goes to school. He pays
   such attention to his studies, that he is at the head of his class
   most of the time ... and gets more rewards of merit than any other
   boy. He is very much delighted, when he gets home, to show his
   parents the rewards which his teacher give him, and very often his
   parents make him some present of a new book to reward him for his
   industry and good conduct. (22)

The Easy Primer (1842) is similarly self-perpetuating; as it catechizes teachers and parents, "Why do children ever dislike school? Because ... they are required to attend to lessons which they do not understand, and which do not interest them." Happily, as its title suggests, The Easy Primer is sufficiently fascinating for the wayward child reader. This primer also unblushingly "recommends that every parent and every teacher possess a copy" of a number of books, including Jacob Abbott's The Little Philosopher, or Infant School at Home (1829), another text that similarly conflates home and school, parent and teacher, as does the practice of home schooling itself, to which the Hawthornes were committed. (23)

Thus far I have said that Hawthorne's literary career can be understood as a reflection of his intimate knowledge of the antebellum publishing mart--an industry that in some ways was revolutionized by the demand for children's literature. Further, as Sacvan Bercovitch claims, the "code of liberal heroics" that informs Hawthorne's "centrist strategy" in The Scarlet Letter is the same sort of compromise in the service of middle-class sensibilities that we have seen displayed in the conflicted rhetoric of antebellum primers. (24) In other words, primers such as the Gift for a Little Child (1843) indoctrinate the child reader into the puzzling worlds of both literacy and adulthood with such paradoxes as providing children with the means if not the moral imperative to think for themselves, while at the same time coupling such liberating injunctions with the baldest of didactic prescriptions. When read alongside contemporaneous primers, The Scarlet Letter confronts its readers with a similar set of paradoxes. Hester rebels inwardly but maintains a show of outward conformity; Chillingworth is both a healer and a killer; Dimmesdale is both a "sinner" and a "saint" (CE 1:144). Though Pearl is familiar with The New England Primer and at least "the first column of the Westminster Catechism," in a fit of "perversity" she refuses to display this knowledge on demand, a paradox that almost costs Pearl her mother's guardianship (CE 1:112). Even Hester's "A" itself, whose shift in meaning from what the narrator delicately calls "its original signification" to "Able" is a paradox that mirrors the shift away from Calvinist theories of childrearing that in Hawthorne's time manifested itself in the change from The New England Primer's "In Adam's fall we sinn'd all" to the M'Carty's American Primer's (c 1828) "A is for Ass." (CE 1:161). (25)

Hawthorne's flexible relationship to the particulars of the historical record further invites us to read The Scarlet Letter as a novel of 1850 rather than a primary reflection on the Puritan 1640s. As much of the scholarship that surrounds the question of the novel's historicity points out, though "Governor Bellingham himself" (CE 1:64) appears to preside over Hester's humiliation upon the scaffold, Bellingham wasn't governor in June of 1642, when the scene is set. (26) Michael Colacurcio's study of the The Scarlet Letter asserts that when the narrator tempts us to consider the extent to which the fictional Hester is "hand in hand with Ann Hutchinson" (CE 1:165), the novel alludes to Hutchinson not to offer a reading of her dilemma so much as to shift the focus of the novel to the woman question--a debate that was particularly close to the hearts of Hawthorne's contemporaries in the 1840s and 1850s. (27) And while Korobkin's detailed study of Puritan judiciary reveals Hawthorne's "ahistorical" depiction of "the machinery of Puritan criminal law," Stephen Railton's investigation of Hawthorne's anxieties of audience suggests that the novel's Puritans are nothing more than Victorian Americans in drag: "Although they dress like seventeenth-century colonists, their reactions, and the assumptions behind those reactions, are those of the genteel readers who formed Hawthorne's mid-nineteenth-century audience." (28)

Yet even more central to this reading of The Scarlet Letter is the way in which the Janus-faced narrator of the novel--who is simultaneously reliable and unreliable, a revealer and a concealer--is a narrative voice that ultimately invites us to read The Scarlet Letter as a primer for grownups, whose subject, like all primers, is the process of reading itself. While Patricia Crain's brilliant and iconoclastic reading of The Scarlet Letter situates the novel, as I do, in the primer tradition, I would suggest that the novel is as much a model of antebellum pedagogical practices as it is what she calls "an allegory of alphabetization." (29) Take, for example, the opening pages of the chapter "The Elf-Child and the Minister," in which Pearl almost loses her mother by refusing to respond properly to John Wilson's catechizing. Our narrator sets the scene thusly: "Behind the Governor and Mr. Wilson came two other guests; one, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale ... and, in close companionship with him, old Roger Chillingworth, a person of great skill in physic who, for two or three years past, had been settled in the town. It was understood that this learned man was the physician as well as friend of the young minister" (CE 1:109). What interests me here is this moment of sudden and radical intimacy between narrator and reader. At this point in the story, we know all too well that "old Roger Chillingworth" is actually Master Prynne, and we also know that Chillingworth is not "friend" but foe to the young minister whose footsteps he shadows. Further, the narrator here mimics what could be called the official, adult discourse of the township by parroting the way in which Wilson or Bellingham might have identified Chillingworth. Finally, Hawthorne not only undercuts the official assumptions we take for fact by parodying the structure of narrative authority in The Scarlet Letter, but he also forces us to become aware of the lacunae occluded by the discourse of official, adult sanction.

In other words, if we take seriously Elizabeth Peabody's contention that Hawthorne ought to have enlisted his fiction in the cause of educational reform, what we have here is a text that coyly prods us like any primer to recall the information it has already imparted, as well as teaching us (Jonathan Lamb might well be proud) not to rely on narrative authority. In a rhetorical gesture that is reminiscent of Hawthorne's paternal "what are you good for?" to Julian, this moment of narrative pedagogy coaxes us to recall what we have already been taught, just as Julian is taught to repeat the homilies of romantic conceptions of the child so that his mother can reassure herself that the saintly child of the nineteenth-century imagination is not just another "Snow Image" melting away in the radiant heat of an actual child. Like Bronson Alcott's Conversations with Children on the Gospels (1836-37), the infamous sequel to his Record (1834) of the Temple School experiment, in which children are prompted by what appear to be a series of questions into proffering the prescribed "answers" that Mr. Alcott has been drumming into their little heads so patiently, this moment in The Scarlet Letter is also an instance of the same sort of radical pedagogical intimacy that conflates parent with teacher, and child with reader, that was at the core of antebellum literatures of the child. (30)

Readers of The Scarlet Letter may have noticed that I excluded a few crucial lines from the passage quoted above. The passage reads in full: "Behind the Governor and Mr. Wilson came two other guests; one, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, whom the reader may remember, as having taken a brief and reluctant part in the scene of Hester Prynne's disgrace; and, in close companionship with him, old Roger Chillingworth" (CE 1:109). Again we are teased by another moment of pedagogical-parental prodding: "whom the reader may remember." This coaxes us not only to recall Dimmesdale, yet also to reconsider the extent to which he has "taken a brief and reluctant part in the scene of Hester Prynne's disgrace" (CE 1:109). Like the teasing reference to our knowledge of Chillingworth's identity, this a moment of narrative-pedagogical coyness in which the narrator-parent-teacher teases us to admit what we already know: that the "scene" of Hester Prynne's "disgrace" may not only refer to the opening scenes on the scaffold, but may also refer to the original "scene" of Pearl's conception, as well as to our knowledge that Dimmesdale had an intimate "part" in this primal scene (albeit "brief" or "reluctant"). In other words, reading The Scarlet Letter alongside antebellum readers for children reveals the novel's identity as a primer for adults.

Like the enthralling yet claustrophobic intimacy that Herbert characterizes as the tenor of parent-to-child as well as parent-to-parent relations in the Hawthorne household, and like the "agoraphobia" that Gillian Brown locates at the core of antebellum domesticity more generally, The Scarlet Letter is powered by a pedagogically-charged intimacy between narrator and reader. (31) Consider the coyly titled chapter "The Recognition," in which Hester distinguishes her husband in the midst of a throng gathered before the scaffold to witness her shame. We note her shock as she realizes that "one of this man's shoulders rose higher than the other," a detail that prods us to recall what we have just learned about Hester's husband through her reminiscences in the previous chapter (CE 1:60). We understand why, "at the first instant of perceiving that thin visage, and the slight deformity of the figure, she pressed her infant to her bosom, with so convulsive a force that the poor babe uttered ... [a] cry of pain," as well as why "the mother did not seem to hear" Pearl's protest (CE 1:60-61). Further, we are privy to the cause of the "writhing horror" that "twisted itself across" Master Prynne's face just before this expression vanishes in a heroic gesture of repression, and we are invited into the circle of the knowing when he attempts to pass himself off as a "stranger" who can barely remember the unfamiliar cognomen of that alien woman on the scaffold: "Hester Prynne[]--have I her name rightly?" (CE 1:62). In other words, we are being initiated into the realm of adult discourses, where language is used both to reveal and to conceal. Yet it is not until we learn the secret of Pearl's paternity that we become fully cognizant of the narrator's pedagogical practice, as in this almost shameless narrative aside regarding Dimmesdale's horror at being compelled to ask Hester to reveal the father of her babe: "The trying nature of his position drove the blood from his cheek, and made his lips tremulous" (CE 1:67).

Though on first reading it is tempting to assume that Dimmesdale's "position" is that of benevolent pastor, and is thus "trying" due to his concern over the compromised state of his parishioner's soul, once we understand the true "nature" of his relationship to Hester this narrative aside becomes redolent with double meanings, as does the rest of the chapter. Read alongside Bellingham's terse yet resonant plea ("'Good Master Dimmesdale,"' said he, 'the responsibility of this woman's soul lies greatly with you'" [CE 1:66]), Wilson's speech is also pregnant with double-entendres:

   "Hester Prynne," said the clergyman ... "I have sought, I say, to
   persuade this godly youth, that he should deal with you, here in
   the face of Heaven, and before these wise and upright rulers, and
   in hearing of all the people, as touching the vileness and
   blackness of your sin. Knowing your natural temper better than I,
   he could the better judge what arguments to use.... Truly, as I
   have sought to convince him, the shame lay in the commission of the
   sin, and not in the showing of it forth. (CE 1:65)

For the reader who has solved the mystery of the scarlet letter, this moment is an initiation into a realm in which public discourse is rich with private meanings. The uncanny precision of Wilson's paternalistic admonitions (the reminder that "the shame lay in the commission of the sin," the assertion that Dimmesdale is "knowing" of Hester's "natural temper" better than anyone else) suggests either that Wilson is a witless vehicle for the truths that tumble unconsciously out of his mouth, or that he may be more familiar with the circumstances of Hester's fall than he is willing or able to reveal overtly. The radical intimacy generated by hearing Wilson's speech in these terms is a result of the narrative-pedagogic practice that is in turn reminiscent of the Hawthornes' own intimacy, played out so often through the medium of language in letters and notebook entries. Read in this way, Wilson's speech is a rhetorical gesture much like the pet language of nicknames that cements the intimacy between the Hawthornes--language sprinkled throughout the letters and in the shared family notebooks that is then coyly replicated in Hawthorne's fiction (one thinks of his persistent nickname for his wife, "Phoebe," which appears frequently in the Notebooks in the months immediately following the 1851 publication of The House of the Seven Gables). (32)

Further, Wilson's very public yet gentle rebuke, which prods Dimmesdale to admit his guilt without forcing a confession, is a mirror of the progressive model of family discipline promulgated in the transcendental press during the antebellum period, and self-consciously practiced by the Hawthornes. Consider this episode of family life circa 1848, recorded in the Notebooks, in which Julian learns to discipline himself internally in a little drama surrounding the handling of a book:

   While mamma turns over the book, there is continual trouble to
   prevent him from handling the leaves he stretching out his hand,
   and exclaiming "I vill, I vill,"--in a most resolute tone.... Now
   he lays his head on her bosom--repeating (from her dictation) "love
   mam-ma." Now he is sitting on the floor again, with the picture
   book in his lap, looking up to his mother, and
   saying--"Over"--"over"--in a most gentle and deprecatory tone
   requesting permission to turn it over by himself. "Oh, Julian'"
   exclaims his mother, in unutterable wonder and admiration.
   (CE 8:401)

Committed to the practice of discipline through love, Sophia teaches her son that to repress his desires in favor of complying with those of his elders and betters is an act of love ("love mam-ma," is the substance of this lesson). Rather than resorting to corporal punishment, she patiently teaches him to internalize her disciplinary desires. When he thus asks permission before doing what he has learned is wrong, he is rewarded by his mother's love, expressed in terms of "unutterable wonder and admiration." Sophia here follows the progressive model of parenthood prescribed by such writers as Lydia Maria Child, who remarks in The Mother's Book (1831) that "the great difficulty in education is that we give rules instead of inspiring sentiments.... In the first place, it is not possible to make rules enough to apply to all manner of cases; and if it were possible, a child would soon forget them." Yet, as Child continues (in terms that eloquently prefigure Harriet Beecber Stowe's famous appeal to the mothers of America at the end of the novelized 1852 edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin), "if you inspire him [the child] with right feelings they will govern his actions. All our thoughts and actions come from our affections; if we love what is good, we shall think and do what is good. (33) In terms of the Foucauldian version of civilization and its discontents, however, this model of discipline means that parent and child are emotionally bonded together for psychic eternity--that the child absorbs parental desires and prescriptions subjectively. Recall young Una's complaint, recorded by her father: "I'm tired of all sings, and want to slip into God. I'm tired of little Una Hawsorne" (CE 8:398). Though Una's childish lisp suggestively transforms her patronymic, what I wish to highlight here is her use of the word "little," an addition that fixes her identity in relation to her elders and thus suggests that this moniker was bestowed by them. Her desire to die to this prescribed self implies that she suffers from the emotional burdens placed on her by an upbringing that strongly limited her exposure to other children and adults. (34) Julian, too, experienced the radical doubleness and the wish for freedom that was the outcome of intense parental involvement in his daily life: "when I grow up, I shall be two men!" (CE 8:296-97).

This is the same duality that gives The Scarlet Letter its narrative power: as Dimmesdale weakly puts it in a public appeal to the mother of his child that resonates beyond its ostensible purport, "thou hearest what this good man [Wilson] says, and seest the accountability under which I labor" (CE 1:67). Dimmesdale's devastating accuracy, however, is interpreted as a mere echo of the truth he quite literally articulates by all except Hester, who does indeed have intimate knowledge of her pastor's "accountability." It is as if we are reading an adult version of an antebellum children's primer, which often includes riddles and word plays for further edification, once the child reader presumably masters the fundamentals of reading. Like Dimmesdale's language above, many of these riddles are painfully clear once the rudiments of narrative predictability have been mastered, as in this example from "The Little Riddler" (c. 1855):


   We are little airy creatures,
   All of different voices and features;
   One of us in glass is set;
   One of us you'll find in jet;
   One of us is set in tin;
   And the fourth a box within;
   If the last you should pursue,
   It can never fly from you. (35)

As in this selection from "The Little Riddler," the answer to the riddle of Pearl's paternity in The Scarlet Letter is in many ways embedded in the language of the text from the beginning, if we are but able to read aright. Just as children's primers are punctuated with language games--riddles, acrostics, rebuses--The Scarlet Letter embeds such discursive gymnastics in both the utterances of the characters and in the narrative voice itself, allowing the novel to mirror the pedagogic obsessions of the antebellum literary market as a whole.

As I have suggested, the dilemma of the primer (like that question at the core of The Scarlet Letter) is the question of interpretation, a problem that in the primer is often written into the text itself. Consider the cover of The Young Beginner's Pictorial Primer (c. 1843), which features two hopeful yet anxious mottoes accompanied by an illustration done up with neoclassical regularity that depicts three cherubic children, two reading while one peers through a telescope, dwarfed by piles of books and two enormous globes: "Educate Your Children, and the Country is Safe," and "Knowledge is Power." If knowledge is power, however, then the question becomes how that power ought to be harnessed. This problem is raised explicitly on the last page of The American Juvenile Primer (1838):


   Well, you have been a good child. When this little Primer was
   first brought to you, you did not know your A. B. C's. Now you can

   You can read the word of God. Learn to love and fear Him. Honor
   your father and your Mother [capitalization sic]. Do unto others
   as you would have them do unto you. (36)

As the link between "Now you can read" and "You can read the word of God" suggests, The American Juvenile Primer hopes that the power to read will be put to pious and orderly uses. Yet as the paragraph break between these two sentences implies, there is also a large, empty, open space between these two assertions. In other words, how the child will put his or her new skills to use is at stake; by opening the child to the world of reading, parental control over the formation of the child is both asserted and lost.

The question of the ends to which skill at reading may be put becomes explicit in The Scarlet Letter in "The Elf-Child and the Minister," in which Hester pleads to retain guardianship over her daughter. Much of the tension of this chapter is situational: Hester is compelled to make her case before Bellingham, Wilson, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth--a group who could certainly be called, pace Lauren Berlant, a corrupt july. (37) Hester charges Dimmesdale to plead her case: "Speak for me! ... Thou ... knowest me better than these men can. I will not lose the child! Speak for me! Thou knowest,--for thou has sympathies which these men lack! thou knowest what is in my heart" (CE 1:113). Hester's repetition of "thou knowest" cannot but read suggestively if we know the secret of Pearl's paternity; certainly her repetition of the word speaks to Dimmesdale of another sense in which "knowledge" is "power." A scene follows in which Dimmesdale waxes eloquent--"You speak, my friend, with a strange earnestness" is Chillingworth's sardonic summation, spoken while "smiling" at Dimmesdale--while the narrator offers this suggestive tableau: "The young minister, on ceasing to speak, had withdrawn a few steps from the group, and stood with his face partially concealed in the heavy folds of the window-curtain.... Pearl ... stole softly towards him, and taking his hand in the grasp of both her own, laid her cheek against it" (CE 1:115). Though this moment of sentiment lasts but an instant, it is narrated in a lengthy paragraph, making this scene a parallel to the mixture of the visual and verbal common to almost all antebellum primers. Having gazed at this tableau, Chillingworth offers this reading of the relationship between knowledge and power: "A strange child! ... It is easy to see the mother's part in her. Would it be beyond a philosopher's research, think ye, gentlemen, to analyze the child's nature, and, from its make and mould, to give a shrewd guess at the father?" (CE 1:116). The sheer rationality and reasonableness of Chillingworth's assertion is thrown into relief by Wilson's response, which proposes a very different model of reading: "Nay, it would be sinful, in such a question, to follow the clue of profane philosophy.... Better to fast and pray upon it; and still better, it may be, to leave the mystery as we find it, unless Providence reveal it of its own accord" (CE 1:116).

Though Wilson's refusal to read the text in front of him seems at first blush a gesture of compassion ("Thereby, every good Christian man hath a title to show a father's kindness towards the poor, deserted babe"), there is a sense in which we have been thrust into the sentimental realm of progressive paternal if not parental discipline, in which a radically Victorianized Wilson willingly refrains from putting Dimmesdale explicitly at fault in order to prod the "young" minister gently into a seemingly voluntary confession of guilt (CE 1:116, 115). As John S. C. Abbott cautions in The Mother at Home (1834):

   Do not be continuallv finding fault. It is at times necessary to
   censure and to punish. But very much may be done by encouraging
   children when they do well.... Nothing can more discourage a
   child than a spirit of incessant fault-finding on the part of its
   parent.... There are two great motives influencing human actions;
   hope and fear. Both of these are at times necessary. But who would
   not prefer to have her child influenced to good conduct by the
   desire of pleasing, rather than by the fear of offending[?] (38)

In other words, just as Wilson becomes an emblem for the willfully bad reader, The Scarlet Letter teaches a lesson in the reading of adult discourse--language that conceals as well as reveals, language that is deployed strategically for manipulative ends. (39) One of the great ironies of The Scarlet Letter is Pearl's seemingly uncanny perception of Dimmesdale's guilt. Yet one of the vital lessons embedded in progressive antebellum childrearing practices is the teaching of repression. To Pearl's continual, rhetorical "why does the minister keep his hand over his heart?" (CE 1:179), Hester constantly hushes, orders her daughter to "hold thy tongue," or threatens her with being "shut" into a closet (CE 1: 181); Pearl is being taught, in essence, not to read as well as she does. Thus Hawthorne critiques and exposes antebellum pedagogies of repression in The Scarlet Letter, especially in relation to the middle class family-cum-school, as the Hawthorne family itself combined when Una and Julian were young.

As William Alcott's The Young Wife (1837) puts it, family happiness is dependent upon parental self-control: "It is not required of woman to preside in halls of justice, or to command armies; but it is required of her to do what is more difficult--to govern herself. [Mothers are] called to self-government in a thousand ... ways," including the most important: "restraining ... anger." As Alcott warns, "All our affections, our passions and our appetites, are liable to exceed the bounds of moderation, unless they are duly regulated, and sometimes repressed." (40) Taking these prescriptions to their (il)logical extremes, Lydia Sigourney's popular Letters to Mothers (1845) admonishes mothers that proper emotional control begins while the child is still in utero: "We cannot but be aware that our duty to [the child] begins before its birth. Every irritable feeling should be restrained." Even after the child is born, Sigourney reminds the new mother to "guard your own ... serenity of spirit, for the child is still a part of yourself ... Breathe over it [with an] atmosphere of happy and benevolent affections." For, as Sigourney gushes,

   To teach the science of self-government, is the great end of
   education. Every hint, to assist in the promoting of a correct
   balance of feeling, is important to the mother. She will probably,
   sometimes, be annoyed, by ... her little ones. Let her be doubly
   watchful against being fretful herself.... If we indulge in
   [anger] ourselves, how can we hope to suppress it in our children?
   ... Let us check in their presence, every murmur that may rise to
   our lips, and teach them by our own cheerful manner, to walk with
   an open and admiring eye, through the picture gallery of life. (41)

Or, as the Mother's Magazine (1837-38) counsels in tones far more apocalyptic:

   Nothing will more effectually mar the peace, and destroy the
   happiness of the domestic circle, than the prevalence of a peevish,
   unsubdued temper. And if [mothers] exhibit such unfortunate traits,
   it is not only probable, but certain, that their children will be
   sadly, perhaps fatally, injured by their example.... A mother, of
   a petulant disposition, is gathering around her and her offspring,
   a train of evils of the most appalling and awful kind.... A mother
   who is so destitute of self-control, that she cannot repress the
   risings of anger in the government of her children, must not be
   surprised if the sorrows of her old age are greatly augmented by
   their neglect and contempt. (42)

Although Franny Nudelman has argued recently that Pearl's evil or impish nature can be read as a criticism of Hester's bad mothering based on such ideologies of motherhood, what I focus on here is that what is being taught to youngsters is the mechanics of repression. (43) The parent represses, and in so doing teaches the child to do the same. Sophia Hawthorne represses her annoyance at Julian's mauling of a book until Julian learns to repress his desire to handle it. Pearl is taught to repress her reading of the relationship between Hester and Dimmesdale. The reader of The Scarlet Letter learns to cope with a narrator who both prods for correct answers yet also represses information, like any good antebellum parent. Hawthorne teaches Julian to repress his very accurate readings of the family dynamics as well. "Twenty Days with Julian & Little Bunny/By Papa" opens with just such a lesson:

   At seven o'clock A.M. Wife, E.P.P., Una, and Rosebud, took their
   departure, leaving Julian and me in possession of the Red Shanty.
   The first observation which the old gentleman made thereupon,
   was--"Father, isn't it nice to have baby gone?" His perfect
   confidence of my sympathy in this feeling was very queer. "Why is
   it nice?" I inquired? "Because I can shout and squeal just as loud
   as I please!" answered he. And for the next half an hour he
   exercised his lungs to his heart's content. (CE 8:436)

Though Julian proceeds to shout and squeal, what he has really been taught is how to shut himself up. He knows that his father is delighted with the peace and freedom that comes with the absence of wife and children, yet he learns that to express such an accurate "reading" of his father's sentiments is taboo. His rebellious yet conformist noise-making for an excruciating "half an hour" after learning this lesson in repression is all the more understandable, read in this way. For Hawthorne as well, the lessons that informed the making of The Scarlet Letter are clear. What Hawthorne learned from Goodrich's example is that what sold in the antebellum publishing market were pedagogical texts, whether children's stories, childrearing manuals, or novels. What all these texts teach, despite their disparities of genre, is the mechanics of repression. The antebellum publishing market taught Hawthorne about the sort of texts he was expected to produce, and ultimately Hawthorne was a very good student.


Research for this article was supported by an AAS-NEH fellowship. My thanks also to Teresa Goddu, Lee Person, and Mary Loeffelholz.

(1) Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Letters 1813-1843, ed. Thomas Woodson, L. Neal Smith, and Norman Holmes Pearson, The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Vol. 15 (Ohio: Ohio State 1984), 236. Hereafter cited parenthetically by volume and page number. The most complete scholarly treatment of Goodrich is Daniel Roselle's Samuel Griswold Goodrich, Creator of Peter Parley: A Study of His Life and Work (Albany: SUNY Press, 1968). Roselle includes a chapter on Goodrich and Hawthorne. Other sources about Goodrich I have used in the writing of this essay include Woodson's introduction to the Letters (CE 15:47-51); Lillian B. Gilkes, "Hawthorne, Park Benjamin, S. G. Goodrich: A Three-Cornered Imbroglio," Nathaniel Hawthorne Journal (1971), 83-112; James R. Mellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne In His Times (1980; repr. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1998), 46-48, 70-80; Edwin Haviland Miller, Salem Is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1991), 93-101; Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines,Vol. 1 (1930; repr. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 1966), 492-93, 622-23, 713-15; and Wayne Allen Jones, "Hawthorne's First Published Review," American Literature 48 (1977), 492-500.

(2) CE 15:504-6.

(3) Miller, 172-73.

(4) Hawthorne to Elizabeth Peabody, CE 15:547.

(5) Hawthorne to Elizabeth Peabody, CE 15:609-10.

(6) Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, ed. William Charvat, et. al., The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Vol. 1 (Ohio: Ohio State Univ. Press, 1962), 24, 34. Hereafter cited parenthetically by volume and page number.

(7) "Samuel Griswold Goodrich," Southern Literary Messenger 7, no. 10 (October 1841), 736-38.

(8) Meredith L. McGill, "The Problem of Hawthorne's Popularity," in Steven Fink and Susan S. Williams, eds., Reciprocal Influences: Literary Production, Distribution, and Consumption in America (Columbus: Ohio State Univ. Press, 1999), 36-54, 39. Perhaps Goodrich inadvertently taught Hawthorne about the importance of marketing an authorial persona; on Hawthorne's manufacturing of an authorial persona see Richard Brodhead, The School of Hawthorne (New York: Oxford, 1986), 48-66. Roselle includes a hilarious account of the disappointment of young children in discovering the real Goodrich behind the Peter Parley persona, 38-40.

(9) Mellow, 46-48, 71, 73-76.

(10) Quoted in Mellow, 76.

(11) Roselle, 37-38.

(12) One of the difficulties of ascertaining the effect of the literatures of the child on the antebellum publishing industry is that its products include juvenile magazines, primers, toy-books, story books, collections of poems for juveniles, fairy tales, Sunday-School materials and temperance tracts aimed at the child reader, and juvenile reference materials, as well as the domestic guides, childrearing manuals, family conduct books, and pedagogical tracts. Further, many of the best-selling novels of the period can be understood as "family" texts, designed to appeal to both young and adult readers. As Susan Belasco Smith points out, Harriet Beecher Stowe closed the final chapter of the serialized edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin by addressing "the dear little children who have followed her story," a gesture that allows us to read her best-selling novel as children's literature. Novels such as Fanny Fern's Ruth Hall (1854) or Susan Warner's The Wide Wide World (1850) could also be framed in this light. Additionally, as Frank Luther Mott observes, children's books like Goodrich's "Peter Parley" offerings were often published in the lucrative form of the long-running series, so that while no single text stands out as a best-seller, the aggregate was formidable. Smith, "Serialization and the Nature of Uncle Tom's Cabin," in Susan Belasco Smith and Kenneth M. Price, eds., Periodical Literature in Nineteenth-Century America (Charlottesville: Univ. of Virginia Press, 1995), 69-89, 69-70; Frank Luther Mott, Golden Multitudes: The Story of Best Sellers in the United States (New York: R. R. Bowker, 1947), 98. See also Marilyn Dell Brady, "The New Model Middle-Class Family (1815-1930)," in Joseph N. Hawes and Elizabeth I. Nybakken, eds., American Families (Westport: Greenwood, 1991), 83-123, 88; Mary Cable, The Little Darlings (New York: Scribner's, 1972), 90-91, 100; Stephen M. Frank, Life With Father (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1998), 28-31; William J. Gilmore, Reading Becomes a Necessity of Life (Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1989), 216-20, 354-64; Bernard Wishy, The Child and the Republic (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1968), 58-59, 64; and Ronald J. Zboray, A Fictive People (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1993), xix, 83-109, 142-34.

(13) John L. Idol, Jr., "Elizabeth Palmer Peabody: A Tireless Hawthorne Booster," in John L. Idol, Jr., and Melinda M. Ponder, eds., Hawthorne and Women: Engendering and Expanding the Hawthorne Tradition (Amherst: Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 1999), 36-41, 37.

(14) Elizabeth N. Goodenough, "'Demons of Wickedness, Angels of Delight': Hawthorne, Woolf, and the Child," in Hawthorne and Women, 229.

(15) Quoted in T. Walter Herbert, Dearest Beloved: The Hawthornes and the Making of the Middle-Class Family (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1993), 174.

(16) Herbert, 175.

(17) [Sarah Savage], James Talbot (Cambridge: Hilliard and Metcalf, 1821), 10-11.

(18) [Sarah Savage], The Factory Girl (Boston: Munroe and Francis, 1824), 11, 36, 37, 51.

(19) Richard Brodhead, Cultures of Letters: Scenes of Reading and Writing in Nineteenth-Century America (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1993), 17-18.

(20) J[onathan] Lamb, The Child's Instructor, or Second Book for Primary Schools (Burlington: A. & D. Day, 1829), 10-11, 154.

(21) Laura Hanft Korobkin, "The Scarlet Letter of the Law: Hawthorne and Criminal Justice," Novel: A Forum on Fiction 30 (1997), 193-217.

(22) Gift for a Little Child (Concord: Rufus Merrill, 1843), 6-7. Yet the linking of reading with rising class status is not an antebellum American innovation. This connection between reading and class was exploited, for example, by the mideighteenth-century publisher John Newberry (one of the first to market literature for children aggressively) in his primer The Royal Battledore, whose ABCs are framed by the ditty: "He that ne'er learns his A B C,/For ever will a Blockhead be./But he that learns these Letters fair,/Shall have a Coach to take the Air." Quoted in Alice Morse Earle, Child Life in Colonial Days (1899; repr. Stockbridge: Berkshire House, 1993), 124-25.

(23) The Easy Primer; Containing Children's First Lessons in Reading and Spelling (Springfield: Merriam, 1842), iii-iv.

(24) Sacvan Bercovitch, The Office of The Scarlet Letter (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1991), 17, 87.

(25) M'Carty's American Primer (Philadelphia: M'Carty and Davis, n.d. [c. 1828]).

(26) Lauren Berlant, The Anatomy of a National Fantasy: Hawthorne, Utopia, and Everyday Life (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1991), 75. See also Michael J. Colacurcio, "'The Woman's Own Choice': Sex, Metaphor, and the Puritan 'Sources' of The Scarlet Letter," in Colacurcio, ed., New Essays on The Scarlet Letter (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press), 101-35, esp. 108-9, and Korobkin, 194.

(27) Michael J. Colacurcio, "Footsteps of Anne Hutchinson: The Context of The Scarlet Letter" (1972), repr. in The Scarlet Letter: An Authoritative Text, Essays in Criticism and Scholarship, ed. Seymour Gross et al. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1988), 213-30, 226. See also Bercovitch, 79-80.

(28) Korobkin, 194; Stephen Railton, "The Address of The Scarlet Letter," in James L. Machor, ed., Readers in History: Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Contexts of Response (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1993), 138-63, 141.

(29) Patricia Crain, The Story of A: The Alphabetization of America from The New England Primer to The Scarlet Letter (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 2000), 191.

(30) For an illuminating discussion of Alcott, see Larry A. Carlson, ""Those Pure Pages of Yours': Bronson Alcott's Conversations with Children on the Gospels," American Literature 60 (1988), 451-60.

(31) Gillian Brown, Domestic Individualism: Imagining Self in Nineteenth-Century America (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1990), 170-95.

(32) Claude Simpson notes that this nickname appears in his letters as early as August 26, 1843; see CE 8:655.

(33) Lydia Maria Child, The Mother's Book (Boston: Carter and Hendee, 1831), quoted in David Brion Davis, Antebellum American Culture (Lexington: Heath, 1979), 23.

(34) See CE 8:422, in which Hawthorne laments that Una can't be sent to school like other children--it might cure her of her "weariness"; and CE 8:430, where Hawthorne translates Una's "going to God" as "die."

(35) "The Little Riddler," in The Juvenile Casket (Worcester: Hervey and Howland, n.d. [c1855]).

(36) The American Juvenile Primer (Philadelphia: Turner and Fisher, 1838), 24.

(37) Berlant, 57-95.

(38) John S. C. Abbott, The Mother at Home (1834; repr. New York: Arno, 1972), 6 l-62.

(39) Railton, 142-43.

(40) William A. Alcott, The Young Wife (1837; repr. New York: Arno, 1972), 285.

(41) Lydia Sigourney, Letters to Mothers (New York: Harper, 1845), 27, 56.

(42) Mother's Magazine (1837-38), 221-22.

(43) Franny Nudelman, "'Emblem and Product of Sin': The Poisoned Child in The Scarlet Letter and Domestic Advice Literature," Yale Journal of Criticism 10, no. 1 (1997), 193-213.

Lesley Ginsberg

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs


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