In this way, daguerreotypy
became an essential part of an emerging American national identity, and helped to set the stage for the coming mass communication boom at the turn of the twentieth century.
The same methodological approach is also at work in the second half of the book, which begins with a close reading of Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, works through a history of daguerreotypy
in the African colonisation movement and ends with an examination of the influence of the daguerreotype image on the works and politics of Frederick Douglass.
Collett contrasts the painted portrait of Pyncheon and its concealment with "the movement toward truth and freedom" that is a result of daguerreotypy
and of the daguerreotypist, Holgrave (221).
Critics have generally considered the brief mention of daguerreotypy in the story as little more than an early indication of what becomes, by 1851 in The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne's more mature interest in photography, represented in the person of Holgrave, the daguerreotypist/ hero.
From this last "abortive experiment," Aylmer demonstrates, almost in passing, his mastery of the technology known to readers in 1843 as daguerreotypy.
in Gables is "associated with the involuntary disclosure"of guilt, suggesting Pyncheon's true nature.