Romanticism in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown, The Birthmark, and Rappaccini's Daughter

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Romanticism in Young Goodman Brown, The Birth-Mark, and Rappaccini's Daughter

Nathaniel Hawthorne gives his own definition of romanticism in the preface to The House of Seven Gables. According to Hawthorne, the writer of a romance may "claim a certain latitude" and may "deepen and enrich the shadows of the picture," as long as he does not "swerve aside from the truth of the human heart." The writer of a romance "will be mingle the Marvelous" as long as he does it to a "slight," however if he "disregards this caution," he will not be committing "a literary crime" (Hawthorne, House of Seven Gables, preface). Nathaniel Hawthorne consistently stays true to his standards of romanticism. The application of these standards …show more content…

But, if her any shifting emotion caused her to turn pale, there was the mark again..." (Hawthorne, "The Birth Mark" 640). Hawthorne description of Georgiana's birthmark and Rappaccini's plants are vague and frequent, yet they fulfill Hawthorn's promise to "bring out or mellow the lights and deepen enrich the shadows of the picture" (T.H.O.S.G., preface). The examples stated above show that Hawthorne does say true to his definition of romanticism, more specifically his self-proclaimed right to depart from reality.

However, although the author of a romance does not have to write about reality, he must stay true to the emotions of the human heart. The fact that a romance is not about reality but is about true human emotions is what gives it that timeless quality. In "Rappaccini's Daughter," Giovanni Guasconti does what any other man would do when he is in love with a lady. Despite ample warnings from Professor Baglioni, "you are the subject of one Rappaccini's experiments!" (R.D. 659) Giovanni continues to meet with Beatrice regularly, "It was now the customary hour of his daily interview with Beatrice" (R.D. 667). Giovanni shows true human emotions towards his lover. Young Goodman Brown is perhaps the most normal and life-like of Hawthorne's characters. Goodman Brown represents the average man, but more importantly he represents the average man's flaws and inadequacies. This is why his reactions are so easy to relate

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