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

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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
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The new twist to the Gothic gives his work an added depth and imaginative quality not seen previously in American literature.

Hawthorne describes the prison ironwork "more antique than anything else in the New World (Scarlet Letter 112)." The prison is used as a American Romantic element of interest in the past, to give timelessness to America. The mention of Anne Hutchinson also lends a sense of past to the newly formed country he based his story. "Governor Bellingham had planned his new habitation after the residences of gentlemen of fair estate in his native land" (Scarlet Letter 145). The house is described full of old books, Elizabethan antiques, and armor to give an ancient and imposing air. The use of past is an often used method to give a sense of remoteness to the story to add interest and to suspend disbelief in the reader. The prison also represents the severity of Puritan law. Hawthorne uses the house of the governor and the prison as the mysterious setting characteristic of the gothic and romantic timelessness.

Hawthorneâs uses alienation of his main characters to society as a romantic method to explore the individual versus society. Father Hooper in "The Ministerâs Black Veil" asks "have men avoided me, and women shown no pity, and children screamed and fled, only for my black veil" (Hawthorne 2224). The veil is used to make him a better preacher and a living lesson to Milford to look within their own souls for
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