Hawthorne's The Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales


Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2010
Here's a thread for discussing the third and final collection of Hawthorne's short stories, following Twice-Told Tales and Mosses from an Old Manse, wherein most of his best-known stories will be found. This third collection does include "Ethan Brand," which often appears in selections of his tales. I propose to post notes on the pieces in this collection during 2021 and hope others will too. Likewise, comments on stories in the other two Hawthorne collections would be welcome.

The Snow-Image, and Other Twice-Told Tales - Wikipedia
"The Snow-Image"

I haven't read Hans Christian Andersen so far as I remember. I wondered if this story might be close to his stories. Hawthorne's journal entry of 23 March 1848 shows that there was a copy of Andersen's tales in the Hawthorne household, and the same entry might suggest that Una and Julian were the inspiration for Violet and Peony in "The Snow-Image." If so, Mrs. Hawthorne might be the inspiration for the mother in the story, but Hawthorne himself not, I suppose, for the story's father, goodhearted though the well-intentioned man was. Hawthorne suggests one moral of his story could be a warning to well-meaning philanthropists. Philanthropists come in for questioning in Dickens (e.g. Mrs. Jellyby in Bleak House) and George MacDonald ( The part of philanthropist is indeed a dangerous one; and the man who would do his neighbour good must first study how not to do him evil, and must begin by pulling the beam out of his own eye.").
"The Great Stone Face" is a Wordsworthian "myth" of a genuine landscape feature. To the story's protagonist it appears powerful but benign, wise, interested in what passes below. The story's resolution will be evident before its conclusion, but I don't suppose Hawthorne was aiming for a big surprise.


As wisdom and benignity are not words that would come immediately to mind to describe the values inculcated and celebrated lately, it seems fitting that, 18 years ago this month, the Stone Face collapsed.

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