Both Hawthorne and Thoreau were observing silence, then creating literary works with fully-developed ideas on silence, at the same time and the same place. Both writers explored issues of silence as correlated to public spectacle, intimacy, inanimate objects, and the natural world. Twenty-first-century readers must reorient themselves to nineteenth-century notions of silence in studying their body of work. This essay attempts to synthesize their ideas together, starting with their early journals from the 1830s.

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