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Beneath an Umbrella

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Book Overview: 

It is a very descriptive dark story about someone walking through their dreary, rainy town. After contemplating the decision to leave the warmth and comfort of their home, the main character describes the rainy scene as they walk throughout the town. Then the character begins describing his thoughts about people wandering through the stormy world and carrying the "lamp of faith". He tells us that by bearing that "lamp of faith", we will also be lead back home to Heaven.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .window-panes, which look forth upon one of the quietest streets in a New England town. After a time, too, the visions vanish, and will not appear again at my bidding. Then, it being nightfall, a gloomy sense of unreality depresses my spirits, and impels me to venture out, before the clock shall strike bedtime, to satisfy myself that the world is not entirely made up of such shadowy materials, as have busied me throughout the day. A dreamer may dwell so long among fantasies, that the things without him will seem as unreal as those within.

When eve has fairly set in, therefore, I sally forth, tightly buttoning my shaggy overcoat, and hoisting my umbrella, the silken dome of which immediately resounds with the heavy drumming of the invisible rain-drops. Pausing on the lowest doorstep, I contrast the warmth and cheerfulness of my deserted fireside with the drear obscurity and chill discomfort into which I am about to plunge. Now come fearful auguries, innum. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Few writers can craft so much as Hawthorne does here with limited materials - an umbrella, rain and walking the street on a winter's night. But his unique use of language holds my attention throughout.

Mr. Hawthorne, musing comically and wistfully about his street companions fighting off New Emgland rain and gale :)