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Essay about Narrative Styles In Poe, Melville, Hawthorne

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narrative styles in Melville’s Bartleby, Poe’s Arthur Gordon Pym, and Hawthorne’s The House of Seven Gables. How all three authors utilize a “conversational” tone for the function of their work.

In works by three of the most classically American authors of the nineteenth century, Melville, Poe, and Hawthorne, a trait that can be considered common to all three authors is pronounced clearly as a means to their narration. This trait is that of deploying a narrative laden with- and moreover led by –conversational phrasing and asides. The flow of passages in these authors’ works, Bartleby, Arthur Gordon Pym, and The House of Seven Gables, takes on a spoken structure, and numerous operations are made by each
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This feature is then emphasized when the narrator, having finished his resume of Nippers and Turkey, begins his next passage as though backtracking through his speech (pg. 10): “I should have stated before that…”

In The House of Seven Gables Nathaniel Hawthorne utilizes the conversational approach perhaps the most overtly of any of the three authors, at times situating the narration in the first person plural, which thereby has the effect of drawing an assumed commonality between the reader and the party of the narrator. Indeed his use of ‘we’ is scattered through the entire book, as in the passage (pg. 139): “We must not stain our page with any contemporary scandal, to a similar purport, that may have been whispered against the judge,” and the in this passage further on (pg. 139.):

But it is too fruitful a subject, this of hereditary resemblances, -the frequent recurrence of which, in a direct line, is truly unaccountable, when we consider how large an accumulation of ancestry lies behind every man, at the distance of one or two centuries. We shall only add, therefore, that the Puritan- so, at least, says chimney-corner tradition, which so often preserves traits of character with marvelous fidelity –was bold, imperious, relentless, crafty… …Whether the judge in any degree resembled him, the further progress of our narrative may show.

Not only does Hawthorne’s use of we nominate an intimacy between the literary space between
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