The Great Stone Face

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Overview

Hawthorne's tale of a single man's spiritual journey provides a thought provoking description of what it means to live a good life. The story is illustrated with vintage New Hampshire postcards that take us back to the natural beauty of an earlier time.

As the years pass and his small village grows, Ethan watches for the fulfillment of the prophecy that someone born looking like the Great Stone Face up on the mountain will be the ...

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The Great Stone Face

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Overview

Hawthorne's tale of a single man's spiritual journey provides a thought provoking description of what it means to live a good life. The story is illustrated with vintage New Hampshire postcards that take us back to the natural beauty of an earlier time.

As the years pass and his small village grows, Ethan watches for the fulfillment of the prophecy that someone born looking like the Great Stone Face up on the mountain will be the greatest, noblest person of his time.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Two thousand five marks the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the Old Man of the Mountain, the long surviving humanlike profile carved in red granite on New Hampshire's Cannon Mountain. Until it collapsed in May 2003, the Great Stone Face had been the state's pride. Indeed, Daniel Webster detected evidence of divine intervention: "God Almighty Himself has hung a sign that here in New Hampshire, he makes men." Nathaniel Hawthorne, in the charming story reprinted here, sensed in it "a work of Nature in her mood of majestic playfulness."
Publishers Weekly
Gary D. Schmidt retells Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Great Stone Face, illus. by Bill Farnsworth, about a village prophecy that a man will be born with the likeness of the visage etched into the stone cliff that stretches above their valley and "will be the noblest person of his time." Only young Ethan and the town pastor still have faith in the prophecy. The artist's luminous oil paintings convey the lush valley as well as the quiet leadership that emanates from Ethan over the years-until readers themselves will recognize, as Ethan's granddaughter does, that the prophecy has indeed been fulfilled.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-The Great Stone Face (more commonly referred to today as "The Old Man of the Mountains) juts out from the White Mountains of New Hampshire and looms over a small village. An old prophecy states that: "Someone will be born hereabouts who will look just like the Great Stone Face, and he will be the noblest person of his time." Like many others, young Ethan watches the faces of returning famous men for signs of the gentle wisdom seen in the face. The rich merchant, however, is grasping, the soldier only stern, and the politician-well, a politician. Ethan, meanwhile, works hard on his farm, and is looked up to by his neighbors for the thoughtful counsel he offers. When he is an old man, people remark that they fear they will never see the prophecy fulfilled. Ethan's granddaughter, touching his face, remarks that it was fulfilled long ago. Schmidt has done a credible job of retelling Hawthorne's classic tale, eliminating flowery language, and rendering it accessible for a new generation. While the story is intrinsically a teaching tool, this retelling avoids didacticism and lets the events speak for themselves. Farnsworth's oil paintings do a fine job of capturing the beauty of the New England landscape. There is a still, slightly hazy quality to them that is entirely appropriate to the meditative tone of the book. This thoughtful look at what it means to live a good life is as relevant today as when first written.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595401137
  • Publisher: 1st World Library
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 76
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Best known for his novels The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables, NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. A perennial favorite of American literature, his literary stature continues to grow.

Award-winning photographer P. J. SAINE writes frequently, lectures internationally, and exhibits his photography in galleries and museums. He is a faculty member of Dartmouth Medical School and lives in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Biography

Nathaniel Hathorne, Jr., was born into an established New England puritan family on Independence Day, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts. After the sudden death of his father, he and his mother and sisters moved in with his mother's family in Salem. Nathaniel's early education was informal; he was home-schooled by tutors until he enrolled in Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

Uninterested in conventional professions such as law, medicine, or the ministry, Nathaniel chose instead to rely "for support upon my pen." After graduation, he returned to his hometown, wrote short stories and sketches, and chanced the spelling of his surname to "Hawthorne." Hawthorne's coterie consisted of transcendentalist thinkers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Although he did not subscribe entirely to the group's philosophy, he lived for six months at Brook Farm, a cooperative living community the transcendentalists established in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

On July 9, 1942, Hawthorne married a follower of Emerson, Sophia Peabody, with whom he had a daughter, Una, and a son, Julian. The couple purchased a mansion in Concord, Massachusetts, that previously had been occupied by author Louisa May Alcott. Frequently in financial difficulty, Hawthorne worked at the custom houses in Salem and Boston to support his family and his writing. His peaceful life was interrupted when his college friend, Franklin Pierce, now president of the United States, appointed him U.S. consul at Liverpool, England, where he served for four years.

The publication of The Scarlet Letter in 1850 changed the way society viewed Puritanism. Considered his masterpiece, the novel focuses on Hawthorne's recurrent themes of sin, guilt, and punishment. Some critics have attributed his sense of guilt to his ancestors' connection with the persecution of Quakers in seventeenth-century New England and their prominent role in the Salem witchcraft trials in the 1690s.

On May 19, 1864, Hawthorne died in Plymouth, New Hampshire, leaving behind several unfinished novels that were published posthumously. He is buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Scarlet Letter.

Good To Know

Hawthorne's birth name was actually Nathaniel Hathorne. It's rumored that he added a "w" to avoid being associated with his Puritan grandfather, Judge Hathorne -- who presided over the Salem Witch Trials.

Among Hawthorne's peers at Maine's Bowdoin College: author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Franklin Pierce, who would later become the country's 14th president.

In its first week of publication, The Scarlet Letter sold 4,000 copies.

Hawthorne died on May 19, 1864, at the Pemigewasset House in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Ironically, former president Franklin Pierce had advised him to go there for his health.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      July 4, 1804
    2. Place of Birth:
      Salem, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      May 19, 1864
    2. Place of Death:
      Plymouth, New Hampshire
    1. Education:
      Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, 1824

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  • Posted November 8, 2012

    The amount of foreshadowing in this tale is emaculate. It was a

    The amount of foreshadowing in this tale is emaculate. It was a joy to read the book and then have the "ah ha" moment at the end when I realized that the whole time the story was unfolding foreshadowing had taken place. I especially liked when Earnest's mom told him that he would meet the man that looked like the great stone face.

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