What I’m getting Hawthorne for his Birthday

04 Mar

I have a few months to wait before Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthday.

But when July 4th comes, I know just what I’ll be giving him.

What?  You don’t think he’ll be thrilled to receive a thesaurus?

Oh, but I think he needs one.

Has anyone else noticed how many times the author of The Scarlet Letter uses the word ignominy?

Ignominy is a noun that means disgrace, dishonor; public contempt.

Hawthorne is fond of this word: extremely fond of it.

I’m not a novelist, but I confess that in my blog post writing when I find I’m over-using a word, I go to a certain website that’s become a friend:

I used to look up other options for the word ignominy.  There was baseness, disgrace, lowness, meanness, and sordidness.

If Hawthorne did not like any of those choices he could have used a synonym from this list: disfavor, dishonor, humiliation, infamy, opprobrium, shame, or stigma.

Hey, that opprobrium word sounds familiar.

I’ll go ahead and order that thesaurus now so that when July comes, and I get my invitation to celebrate Hawthorne’s 198th birthday, I’ll be ready with a gift.


Posted by on March 4, 2012 in The Scarlet Letter


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6 responses to “What I’m getting Hawthorne for his Birthday

  1. Christina Joy

    March 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you! I was afraid I was the only one who noticed his overuse of the word. It was out of control. His narrow vocabulary should give him a sense of ignominy.

    • Christine

      March 4, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      If he’d only been enrolled in your classic word of the day program…

  2. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    March 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I agree — “ignominy” was overdone. I think I noticed the word “shame” one time. It stood out to me because I was starting to think that maybe “shame” was not in common use in the 1850s or something.

    “Ignominy” is such a silly word; it makes me think of “hominy”.

    And don’t forget “tremulous”. Whenever I think of Arthur Dimmesdale, I will recall his tremulous mouth. Always tremulous.

    What did Hester ever see in that guy?

    • Christine

      March 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      Ewww, I don’t like the mental picture I get of a tremulous mouth.
      What did Hester see in him? I wish I knew.


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