6 - 'Artist of the Beautiful' by Nathaniel Hawthorne Revised

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 'Artist of the Beautiful' projects a shadowy gloom that resembles a thunderstorm amongst a dark grey sky. The story revolves around Owen Warland, a frail artist and shopkeeper, who suffers with internal and external conflicts which leave the reader continually guessing where the story is going.

In this passage, the reader is being introduced to Owen's talent as an artist:

"From the time that his little fingers could grasp a penknife, Owen had been remarkable for a delicate ingenuity, which sometimes produced pretty shapes in wood, principally figures of flowers and birds, and sometimes seemed to aim at the hidden mysteries of mechanism (1132)."
Almost immediately, the community disapproves of Owen, and his artistic talent, becomes apparent from the community. Alienated from the townsfolk, Owen often receives the unspoken message that art is not accepted as a career, and that he should live his life by the standards of the community. An example follows in the passage below:

“And what if he should hear me? Said Peter Hovenden; “I say it again, it is a good and wholesome thing to depend upon main strength and reality, and to earn one’s bread with the bare and brawny arm of a blacksmith. A watchmaker gets his brain puzzled by his wheels within a wheel or loses his health or the nicety of his eyesight, as was my case; and finds himself, at middle age, or a little after, past labor at his own trade, and fit for nothing else, yet too poor to live at his ease. Did you ever hear of a blacksmith being such a fool as Owen Warland, yonder?" (1133)
Struggling within himself, throughout this story, Owen Warland began to believe that his talents and dreams were inadequate and unacceptable. These feelings led to his morphing his character temporarily to conform to the standards of the community. The passage below exhibit Owens success at conforming:

“ It was marvelous to witness the obtuse gravity with which he would inspect the wheels of a great, old silver watch; thereby delighting the owner in whose fob it had been worn till he deemed it a portion of his own life, and was accordingly jealous of it's treatment (1136)."
Ultimately, Owen climbed this hurdle and comfortably settle into himself. The story ends with a feeling of accomplishment and excitement for Owen. This final passage shows his acceptance of himself:

"And as for Owen Warland, he looked placidly at what seemed the ruin of his life's labor, and which was yet no ruin. He had caught a far other butterfly than this. When the artist rose high enough to achieve the Beautiful, the symbol by which he made it perceptible to mortal senses became of little value in his eyes, while his spirit possessed itself in the enjoyment of the Reality
(1147)."

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