Hawthorne's discourse reflected a blend the unadorned and the elegant, a skeptical attitude toward High Blair's admonition in Lectures on Rhetoric and Bells Lettres that simplicity is "essential to all true ornament." By analyzing representative sentences from several of Hawthorne's sketches and tale, this essay demonstrates that Hawthorne's apparent stylistic simplicity is a veil, that his outward adherence to Blair's rules for "Structure of Sentences" masks a socially and culturally variant subtext that undercuts the contemporary critical principles articulated by William Charvat in The Origins of American Critical Thought, 1810-1835. Hawthorne's hypotactic, periodic sentences reflect his characteristic tentativeness with their modals and multiple subordinate clauses. Hawthorne was drawn to an evasive style that underscores his noncommital narrative stance, and the tentativeness and uncertainty is a conscious rhetorical pose, an element the author added while shaping the notebook entries into the sketches. For Hawthorne the act of creation, with its source deep in the recesses of the human imagination, must be veiled-guarded by metaphor, analogy, and layers of protective clauses.
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