When we do this, we sometimes overlook crucial elements of this history that can help us illuminate what Hawthorne has to say about issues of race within his texts that, on the surface, apparently have nothing to do with the issue at all.
He is best known for his short stories and two widely read novels: Along with Herman Melville and Edgar Allan Poe much of Hawthorne's work belongs to the sub-genre of Dark Romanticismdistinguished by an emphasis on human fallibility that gives rise to lapses in judgement that allow even good men and women to drift toward sin and self-destruction.
Dark Romantics tends to draw attention to the unintended consequences and complications that arise from well-intended efforts at social reform.
Melville dedicated his epic novel, Moby-Dick to Hawthorne: Young Hawthorne was a contemporary of fellow Transcendalists: The Transcendentalists believed in the "inherent goodness of both people and nature.
Hawthorne was a founding member of Brook Farma utopian experiment in communal living -- though he is not portrayed as a deep believer in its ideals. As Hawthorne matured, he drifted further and further from some of the transcendental principles.
In fact, his later writing, produced after greater experience in the world, demonstrated an increasing disdain for the Transcendental Movement. He notably fictionalized the experiences of Brook Farm in his satirical novel The Blithedale Romance I think it's important to mark Hawthorne's migration from a young Transcendental idealist to a Dark Romantic writer.
At one level it's a remarkable journey because the older man comes to embrace the opposite inclinations of his youth; that rather then being inherently good, people were deeply fallible, prone to lapses in judgement and they difted easily to sin.
Furthermore, some of their greatest sins were committed under the umbrella of good intentions. On another level, the journey is common-place, as almost all individuals discover that the journey of life tempers their youthful idealism.
But there is also a personal history the weighed heavily on Hawthorne.
He had two stern forefathers in his patrilineal heritage, his great-great-great grandfather and his great-great-grandfather John Hathorne. So he knew well that men could, cloaked in the countenance of goodness and piety, commit great sin. Here is Hawthorne describing them both starting with the great-great-great grandfather: He was a soldier, legislator, judge; he was a ruler in the Church; he had all the Puritanical traits, both good and evil.
He was likewise a bitter persecutor; as witness the Quakers, who have remembered him in their histories, and relate an incident of his hard severity towards a woman of their sect, which will last longer, it is to be feared, than any record of his better deeds, although these were many.
His son, too, inherited the persecuting spirit, and made himself so conspicuous in the martyrdom of the witches, that their blood may fairly be said to have left a stain upon him.
So deep a stain, indeed, that his dry old bones, in the Charter Street burial-ground, must still retain it, if they have not crumbled utterly to dust!
Hawthorne was acutely aware of his ancestors' sins, so ashamed that he was actually born "Hathorne" and added the "w" to hide his true lineage.Views. Related Questions. What is an analysis of "David Swan" by Nathaniel Hawthorne? Why is Nathaniel Hawthorne important to American literature?
Do you consider Nathaniel Hawthorne to be one of America's best writers? Why? How did Hawthorne change American literature? Below is a free excerpt of "Analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown" from Anti Essays, your source for free research papers, essays, and term paper examples.
The conflict between the forces of good and evil is a classic theme in literature of all time periods. DESCRIPTION. American Literature From Through the s TRANSCRIPT. An Analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Views on Rebellion PAGES 2.
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