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Romanticism in Scarlet Letter, Minister’s Black Veil, and Young Goodman Brown

American Romanticism in The Scarlet Letter, The Minister’s Black Veil, and Young Goodman Brown

Nathaniel Hawthorne took elements of the European romanticism and reshaped them into a new literary form that is called American Romanticism. “The American Romanticists created a form that, at first glance, seems ancient and traditional; they borrowed from classical romance, adapted pastoral themes and incorporated Gothic elements” (Reuben 22). Some of the definable elements of romanticism combined with the Gothic including the crossing of some boundary or a taboo broken (Crow 1), the emotional response of pleasure and pain that the reader experiences and the mixing of good and evil to form a flawed hero. “Hawthorne developed a literature of shadows and moonlight” to questions what is real and made-up (Crow, 106). Examining Hawthorne’s writings in the works of The Scarlet Letter, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” and “Young Goodman Brown” exemplifies American Romanticism at its best.

Hawthorne used extensive study and his own innate knowledge from his own family history to examine the New England Puritan to give the reader an accurate picture of seventeenth century life. In the introduction to The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne describes his ancestor as “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·” (Scarlet Letter 89). The women waiting for Hester to emerge from prison pronounce the sentence of the “A” not harsh enough. “·they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynneâs forehead” (Scarlet Letter 114). The people used their severe beliefs to ward off any workings of the devil among there midst through t…

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…Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998. 2207-2216.

—The Scarlet Letter. The Complete Novels and Selected Tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Ed. Norman Holmes Pearson. New York: Random House, 1937. 81-240.

Melville, Herman. “Hawthorne and His Mosses.” Literary World. 17 and 24 Aug. 1850.

Pearson, Norman Holmes. Introduction. The Complete Novels and Selected Tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne. By Pearson. New York: Random House, 1937. vii-xv.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “Tale-Writing.” Rev. of Twice-Told Tales and Mosses From An Old Manse. Godeyâs Ladyâs Book. Nov. 1847: 252-256.

Reuben, Paul P. “Chapter 3: Early Nineteenth Century: Romanticism ö An Introduction”

PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. 1-38.

The Values, Ideals, and Actions of Fanny Fern

The Values, Ideals, and Actions of Fanny Fern

Literature from the 1820âs to the 1860âs brought attention to the expanse of the American experience and gave rise to many unique voices. Some of the best writers of this era challenged their fellow citizens to live up to the ideals that the founding fathers had written into America’s sacred documents. The voices that cast these challenges are as varied and wide spread in their approach as this nation’s natural boundaries are diverse. Fanny Fern (1811-1872), was one of the writers who made a big splash with her fearless unconventionality during this literary renaissance. Her masterful use of satire and her belief that the ideal of individualism should include women, gained her enormous popularity and doomed her chances of being included in the American literary canon for over a century.

Fanny Fernâs real name was Sarah Payson Willis Parton, but she used the pseudonym in all her legal affairs and with members of her family. Similar to Mark Twain in the sense that the pen names became more closely associated with the writers than their real names, Fern, like Twain, wrote satirical essays, sketches, and novels about the shortcomings of American society. For twenty-one years Fern reminded people that America needed to work on it problems with literature, education, prisons, prostitution, venereal disease, family planning, divorce, education, child rearing, and rights for women. Her unflinching, yet female perspective gained her enormous popularity. Although Fern did not completely abandon traditional womenâs topics like love, marriage, and children, the most far-reaching issues that she addressed were economic independence for women and the need for improvements in dome…

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…cked to comprehend and remember the attack, and to see a direction they may take for correction (Harris 15).” Fern gave us the ironic contrast between American citizensâ values, ideals and actions.

Works Cited

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Self Reliance.” The Heath Anthology of American

Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 1622-1638.

Fern, Fanny. Ruth Hall

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