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Some aspects of Herman Melville influencing Holgrave's character

Mellow also notes that Hawthorne sympathizes with Holgrave's antipathy toward the past.

It is part of Hawthorne's ambivalence that he sympathizes with Holgrave's antipathy toward the past. "Shall we never, never get rid of this Past!" the young man complains. "It lies upon the Present like a giant's dead body!" Holgrave feels the burden of the past like a personal affliction: A Dead Man sits on all our judgement-seats; and living judges do but search out and repeat his decisions. We read in Dead Men's books! We laugh at Dead Men's jokes, and cry at Dead Men's pathos! We are sick of Dead Men's diseases, physical and moral . . ." It is one of Hawthorne's more eloquent and bitter indictments of society and its institutions. Yet Hawthorne suspects, too, that Holgrave may be another of those blustering young radicals from whom one expects great things 'but of whom, even after much and careful inquiry, we never happen to hear another word." Holgrave, in other words, might well turn out to be another of those self-important bores whom Emerson seemed to collect. Still, Hawthorne is careful to point out that his young radical has kept his integrity. "Homeless he had been," Hawthorne says of him kindly, "continually changing his wearabout, and therefore responsible neither to public opinion nor to individuals-putting off one exterior, and snatching up another, to be soon shifted for a third-he had never violated the innermost man, but had carried his conscience along with him." (358-59) (courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Press



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