Get help from the best in academic writing.

Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown – The Romanticism and Realism

“Young Goodman Brown” – The Romanticism and Realism

The reader finds in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” a mix of realism and romanticism, with the former dominating the latter.

Commenting on the presence of romanticism in Hawthorne’s short stories, Morse Peckham in “The Development of Hawthorne’s Romanticism,” talks about the author’s usage of romantic themes:

In his early short stories and sketches Hawthorne was particularly concerned with three Romantic themes: guilt, alienation, and historicism. These three are so intimately intertwined in his work, as in most Romantics, that it is extremely difficult to separate them. . . .The Romantic historicist used the past for a double, interconnected purpose. On the one hand it was a means for separating oneself from society.. . . .He can be aware of the failure of the institution to fulfill its avowed intentions and its social function. . . . Romantic historicism, therefore, is never an end in itself but a strategy for placing the current social conditions in an ironic perspective. . . .(91-92)

Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” comments on the blend of realism and romanticism in Hawthorne”s short stories:

Almost all of Hawthorne’s finest stories are remote in time or place. The glare of contemporary reality immobillized his imagination. . . .Hawthorne, however, despite his disclaimers, had long since discovered in the early history of his own New England the ruins and gloomy wrongs he found congenial. The elusive geography of romance, that lanscape in which imagination and reality could collaborate in acts of transformation, had perhaps disappeared f rom the bustling commercial world. . . but i…

… middle of paper …

… Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.

Leavis, Q.D. “Hawthorne as Poet.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.

Melville, Herman. “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” The Literary World August 17, 24, 1850. http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/hahm.html

“Nathaniel Hawthorne.” The Norton Anthology: American Literature, edited by Baym et al. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1995.

Peckham, Morse. “The Development of Hawthorne’s Romanticism.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.

Swisher, Clarice. “Nathaniel Hawthorne: a Biography.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.

The Themes in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown

The Themes in “Young Goodman Brown”

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” the reader finds several themes. These will be discussed in this essay.

Morse Peckham in “The Development of Hawthorne’s Romanticism” explains what he interprets Hawthorne’s main theme to be:

Once the self has been redeemed from society it can be explored in its own terms, and for this purpose Hawthorne developed his peculiar use of emblematic allegory. . . . This technique, though Hawthorne’s is different from that of European writers, creates analogies between self and not-self, between personality and the worlds. . . .Henceforth Hawthorne’s theme is the redemption of the self through the acceptance and exploitation of what society terms the guilt of the individual but which to the Romantic is society’s guilt (92).

The interplay between the guilt of the individual, Goodman, and society’s guilt, underlies all of “Young Goodman Brown” from beginning to end.

In reading Hawthorne’s tales, Herman Melville in “Hawthorne and His Mosses” (in Literary World, August 17, 24, 1850) makes discoveries relevant to the themes:

Where Hawthorne is known, he seems to be deemed a pleasant writer, with a pleasant style,–a sequestered, harmless man, from whom any deep and weighty thing would hardly be anticipated:–a man who means no meanings. But there is no man, in whom humor and love, like mountain peaks, soar to such a rapt height, as to receive the irradiations of the upper skies;–there is no man in whom humor and love are developed in that high form called genius; no such man can exist without also possessing, as the indispensable complement of these, a great, deep intellect, which drops down…

… middle of paper …

…“The Return into Time: Hawthorne.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.

Martin, Terence “Six Tales.” In Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Twayne Publishers Inc., 1965.

Melville, Herman. “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” The Literary World August 17, 24, 1850. http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/hahm.html

Peckham, Morse. “The Development of Hawthorne’s Romanticism.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.

Swisher, Clarice. “Nathaniel Hawthorne: a Biography.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.

Wagenknecht, Edward. Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Man, His Tales and Romances. New York: Continuum Publishing Co., 1989.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.