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The Hollow of the Three Hills
Transcript of The Hollow of the Three Hills
A woman who abandoned her family seeks the help of a witch to see what has become of her loved ones. In a series of three visions the woman observes her grief-stricken parents, her hysterical husband, and her deceased child's funeral. In order to witness these visions the woman must sacrifice her own life.
The story was written in 1830. Though the era of witchcraft was almost over, there were still cases of people being persecuted for practicing it. This was also one of the last stories he published under his orginial last name, Hathorne.
Characteristics of the Genre
The genre of The Hollow of the Three Hills is dark romanticism. This genre includes references to the belief of sin and evil. It focuses on tragedies and the strife of human nature.
Point of View
The Number 3- The author uses the number three in relation to the Bible. The Bible contains symbols like the holy trinity and examples from the story are the three hills and three visions.
The author shows that one cannot run away from their problems and expect them to disappear. When the woman abandons her family and does not face her child's death she must pay the price of her own life to make up for her sin.
The Woman- In the story she takes on the role as the main character. She is described to be very beautiful with problems meant for someone much older than she. When presented with her child's untimely death she flees her responsibilities as a mother, wife, and daughter.
Born- Salem, Massachusetts
Parents- Nathaniel Hathorne and Elizabeth Manning
Wife- Sophia Peabody
by Izzy Gedris and Serena McCarthy
The story was set in the 1800's during autumn. The area is described to be secluded, a basin enclosed by three hills. The surrounding forest is withered and decaying.
Dishonor- The woman abandons her family, disgracing the family name by leaving her motherly duties when her child falls ill.
Deceit- The woman deceives her husband by breaking their vow of marriage. By being cowardly and leaving him alone with their dying child, he is forced to take all the responsibility.
Death- The story is centered around the death of the child. The woman leaves her family because she cannot take the emotional turmoil of her passing. The woman then seeks the help of the witch to check up on her family. In order to do so she must give up her own life.
October- The story is set in the month of October which is known as the month of death. In the beginning the woman runs away because she cannot face the death of her child. Then in order to obtain the witches help she must give up her own life.
The Witch- She is portrayed as a poorly dress old hag with withered and battered features. Her role in the story was to aid the woman in her quest for closure. In helping the woman she also ends up taking her life which she is pleased with. She says chuckling to herself, "Here has been a sweet hour's sport!"
The Parents- The parents of the woman are shown in the first vision talking about their daughter. They mourn the loss of their granddaughter and are embarrassed of the sin their daughter committed. They are burdened with shame and woe.
The Husband- The husband of the woman is shown in the second vision. He is in an asylum raging woefully about his unfaithful wife and dying child.
The Child- She is the origin of the main conflict of the story. The child is never described, but the third vision shows her funeral.
"Couldst thou have thought there were such merry times in a Mad House?" inquired the latter.
"True, true," said the lady to herself; "There is mirth within its walls, but misery, misery without."
"Here has been a sweet hour's sport!" said the withered crone, chuckling to herself.
In this line the reader is shown the true wickedness of the witch. Though she seems to just be the tie between the woman and her broken family she takes pleasure in seeing the woman suffer.
"The lady shook upon her companion's knees, as she heard that boding sound. Stronger it grew and sadder, and deepened into the tone of a death-bell, knolling dolefully from ivy-mantled tower, and bearing tidings of mortality and woe to the cottage, to the hall, and to the solitary wayfarer, that all might weep for the doom appointed in turn to them."
She discovers her husband in a 'Mad House' which would be something like an insane asylum. The witch sarcastically questions the woman as to whether she expected to see her husband happier without her despite their situation. The woman admits she was foolish for such thoughts.
This is the line that the woman first realizes her child is truly dead. The problem she had run away from finally catches up to her. She could not escape her child's death and now must face her own. The woman from the beginning of the story until this scene had been dreading the moment her child would die because she knew the hardship it would cause her. Now that her child is dead and the conflict has come full circle, the woman has complete closure and can now move on.