English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-8-1947


Among Hawthorne critics, only Matthiessen, Winters, and Higginson have made comment on the multiple choice technique employed by Hawthorne in his presentation of the symbol. Matthissen recognizes its potentialities; Winters condemns it unmercifully; and T.W. Higginson has written an article in which he suggested that the device "was perhaps borrowed by Austin's Peter Rug." The multiple choice technique, or, as Winters terms it, the formula of alternative possibilities, consists of showing not only one correspondence between the symbol and the thing it symbolizes but several, and giving the reader a choice of interpretations. Since these three notable critics have found it interesting and important enough to point out and to discuss briefly, it would appear that a real need exists for a more extensive study of this technique.

In order to make this study, all of Hawthorne's works were read, with the exception of the tales for children. The examples of multiple choice were taken out of context and classified under the four divisions to be stated in Chapter II. It is possible, of course, that some symbols were missed, and that the items in these four categories are not absolutely sui generis.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

George Warren Arms

Second Committee Member

T.M. Pearce

Third Committee Member

Hubert Griggs Alexander




Nathaniel Hawthorne, Symbolism, American Literary Criticism, Semiotics, Multiple Choice

Document Type