Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Time Changes People

When Hepzibah breaks down and cries, Holgrave comforts her by telling her that she is now a heroic part of the great working public, and then he asks for some biscuits, which she gives him without allowing him to pay. And this is where we see Hawthorne do the unthinkable. He takes a upper class gal, born into money and deep rooted heritage, and turns her into your typical working class female.

"The structure of ancient aristocracy had been demolished by him, even as if his childish grip had torn down the seven gabled mansion (34).” Ned Higgins, a boy, comes to get a cookie from the shop and Hepzibah does not make him pay. The boy returns later for another cookie and thinks that he will it for free again. But this time she demands that he pays for it. And in that moment history had been made. Hepzibah broke out of her "richie-rich lifestyle" and became a working, middle class, everyday person. She gets an intriguing feeling—almost a feeling of joy, after making this change. But her day is mixed with pessimistic and curious customers that come in the shop and do not buy anything, or else they came in just to observe her actions. When a rich woman passes, Hepzibah is tempted to curse her, but then she repents and scowls instead.

Hepzibah finally understands what a big transition she has made. She did something that no one in her family would have thought would a) have needed to be done, and b) could possibly be done. Her home life was filled with luxury and riches and over time the family fortune depleted and that's why she is in this position. But she does end up making the most of her opportunity and makes the biggest transition of her life, in my opinion, with a little reinforcement from Holgrave.

Spending five years in college has made me realize that I'm here for a few reasons. The first reason is to further my education. The second reason I'm here is because I finally realize what I want to do with my life. Within the past year I have held three jobs and by the time I was released or quit, I wasn't happy anymore. I coach now and that makes me happy. I'm taking the city fireman's test in December and I'm so excited I can't hardly wait. I'm getting a feeling that my life is finally moving forward to the point where I actually want to graduate college and begin the next phase/task/challenge of my life.

I was born into a middle class, working family. My dad works three jobs all year long. My mom works for the University. We still live paycheck to paycheck because the bills just keep adding up. But we make it work and we did what we had to do to survive. We never had extremely nice things that would cost a "arm and a leg." We didn't need it though either. Hepzibah had it her whole life and she did not realize what she had to do to survive. And that's what Holgrave made Hepzibah do. He gave her some motivation and she ran with it. She got the ball rolling and succeeded.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

You summarize too much, and argue too little, in the first couple paragraphs. There's actually a nice flare to your language, especially at the start, but it's all in the style - there isn't much of an argument. For instance, why would it be unthinkable to have a character drop to a lower class? That sort of thing goes back to *The Odyssey*.

You never really explain the concept of change at work here, nor do you argue that it is representative within the novel - you're summarizing, and leaving the actual argument to be implicit.

The most interesting part here is your discussion of your family, which is fine (if brief) -- what you don't do very well is *connect* this to Holgrave/Hepzibah in any way that's easy to follow. There's an implicit connection but, again, you're not making a clear argument on the surface.