New Historicism Of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Hyperbolism In Literature

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New Historicism analyzes literature using more than just the text; it uses information from the author’s time period as well as from the reader’s time period to understand the text. Readers of literature are “hopelessly subjective interpreters of what [they] observe,” according to this theory, meaning that one has no choice when reading literature other than to interpret it within the context of one’s own era (Allen Brizee, et al). This school of literary theory has only recently been developed but it is still widely used, though also widely criticized (J. Kelly, T. Kelly). Many of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works were allegories, and he had a tendency to denounce the harsh Puritan beliefs present in his time; thus, “The Minister’s Black Veil” can easily be viewed from a New Historicist view, demonstrated in the way that Hawthorne caustically attacks the Puritan belief system which he detests through hyperbolizing situations and contrasting light and dark. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works were a product of his ancestors — whom he despised. Hawthorne grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, surrounded by the legacy of the Salem Witch Trials that had happened a little over a century before his time. He despised Puritan tradition, particularly because one of his ancestors was one of the harshest judges during the witch scare. Hawthorne even added a “w” to his last name (from Hathorne) to distance his reputation from that of his ancestor’s (“Nathaniel Hawthorne”). Given this background, it is no

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