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A Summary of 'David Swan'

Updated on July 22, 2017
Nathaniel Hawthorne author of 'David Swan'
Nathaniel Hawthorne author of 'David Swan'
she whispered ,"The innocent sleep shows his character".
she whispered ,"The innocent sleep shows his character".
"He is handsome!" thought she
"He is handsome!" thought she
The two villains decide to murder him just for a bottle of brandy.
The two villains decide to murder him just for a bottle of brandy.
" Hello, driver! Take a passenger/" he shouted.
" Hello, driver! Take a passenger/" he shouted.

An American fiction writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne is called the author of the Scarlet Letter. His writings ‘The House of Seven Gables’ and the ‘Minister’s Black Veil’ are unique in its style exploring the result of sin, the effect on human conscience of guilt, pride, egotism and isolation.

The story David Swan depicts the life of a youth. David who is Twenty years, is on his trip to the city of Boston for an employment in his uncle’s small grocer at the counter.

It was a summer’s day and he was journeying on foot from dawn. At noon he was tired and decided to wait under a shade, while awaiting the stage coach to carry him to Boston. He had quenched his thirst from the spring in the midst of the trees and laid his head down to take a nap. There were passers by some on foot, others on horseback and all sorts of vehicles. Some glanced his way without even noticing him, while others scoffed at him with scorn. A middle aged widow uttered to herself that he looked charming in his sleep. A preacher illustrated him as an example of a dead drunkard in his sermon.

The author comments that criticism, praise, merriment, scorn and indifference were the same at that moment as it meant nothing to the youth. A carriage driving to Boston had halted in front of David’s resting spot in order to fix up a linchpin which had fallen out and one of the wheels of the carriage had slid off. A lady and a gentleman travelling in that carriage turned to the shelter under the trees and noticed David asleep. The gentleman whispered that his sleep was sound and it was a sign of health and a trouble-free mind, while the lady added that it was the slumber of a youth as the old people’s slumber is just like wakefulness. The lady’s gesture was touched with an act of kindness as she twisted a branch aside to intercept the sunbeam upon his face. Then feeling like a mother to him, she whispered to her husband that it was providence that had brought them to him. The longer they gazed upon him their interest in him grew. The lady began to see her departed nephew in the youth. She was struck with an impulse to wake him but quelled by her husband’s notion that they knew nothing of his character. The lady defended that his innocent look revealed his character. The old merchant and the lady felt an urge to make him as their son, as they had lost their only son and there was no heir to their wealth. His wife persuaded him, nevertheless the coach was fixed up and ready to leave, so they left in haste with no time to decide and the gentleman was engaged in thoughts of a magnificent asylum for unfortunate men.

The next visitor was a pretty young girl, who had just turned in to tidy her dress. Catching sight of the young man asleep, she was about to tip toe out when she saw a monstrous bee hovering above his head and settling on his eyelid. After attacking the bee with her handkerchief, she blushed on taking a glimpse of his youthful, handsome face and passed on.

The author comments that wealth and love had just passed by unnoticed by David Swan.

The last visitors were two rascals, who got their living from other men’s goods. Expecting the bundle on which David had rested to have a bottle of Brandy, they almost murdered him; but stopped in their tracks when a passing dog arrived on the scene to take a sip from the spring. Concluding that the dog’s master was close behind, the rogues fled from the scene. After an hour’s rest the youth stirred from his sleep and hearing the approaching stage coach, he called out to know if the driver could take a passenger. He was offered a room on top, mounting on top of the coach off he sped not aware that wealth, love and death had all passed by him in that brief hour while he lay asleep. Nathienel Hawthorne remarks, ‘Unexpected things thrust themselves across our paths still there is regularity’.

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    • profile image

      Jowela joy 

      5 years ago

      Real story. Hmp. Based oh his lifestory? I enjoy reading.


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