Religion as a Gothic Element in American Romanticism Essay

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Religion as a Gothic Element in American Romanticism American Romanticism can be strongly defined through its use of Gothic elements. Webster’s defines gothic as "of or relating to a style of fiction characterized by the use of desolate or remote settings and macabre, mysterious, or violent incidents" (529). Pre-American Romantic writers, such as Anne Bradstreet and Jonathan Edwards, do not tend towards the gothic in their writings of religion and religious elements. Although God is mysterious to both writers, they maintain certain characteristics and aspects expected of them and their religion. They keep their texts true to their beliefs. However, Mary Rowlandson begins a transition phase for the writers of this period. She begins to…show more content…
Jonathan Edwards appears to believe in the same God. He approaches his views on God in a different manner and begins to exhibit more gothic ideas than those of Bradstreet. Edwards’s concentration on God is more towards the dark, angry God. He focuses on the individual as sinner and on the dark, sinister things that will happen to the sinner if he does not repent. The sinner becomes more associated with the fall and slippery places that reek of dark places and pits (200). Edwards is beginning to make a transition towards the gothic. He views religion and the God of his religion as angry and powerful. He will cast all of the sinners down into a hell of blackness and shadow, devoid of light. They become God’s enemies and Edwards conveys an image of a dark army of people down in the bowels of the earth. Edwards continues with his transition towards the gothic when he writes about the souls of the doomed men. He writes: The corruption of the heart of man is immoderate and boundless in its fury; and while wicked men live here, it is like fire pent up by God’s restraints, whereas if it were let loose, it would set on fire the course of nature; and as the heart is now a sink of sin, so if sin was not restrained, it would immediately turn the soul into a fiery oven, or a furnace and brimstone. (202) Man’s soul becomes consumed with fire and heat. The soul becomes hell, as the doomed sinner journeys into hell. The soul and hell represent dark isolation and
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