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What are some of the Transcendental or Romantic elements from Nathaniel Hawthorne's...

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windrider | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 14, 2010 at 6:25 AM via web

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What are some of the Transcendental or Romantic elements from Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 14, 2010 at 6:39 AM (Answer #1)

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The Romantic/Gothic elements are:

The preocupationfor the supernatural

The dark atmospheric setting

Melancholy towards the past and anxiety over the future

The entrance into the unknown

Nature as a setting

The mysterious jorney through the self and our spirit

A break with the conventional

A tragic/sad ending

Women in distress

Gloom and Horror

Lack of control over fate

A fall from grace

A ruined world

Deterioration of the self

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James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted January 14, 2010 at 7:31 AM (Answer #2)

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To me, the single most important Transcendental or Romantic element in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Young Goodman Brown" among those listed by herappleness is "The mysterious journey through the self and our spirit." The entire story may be read as a journey that is more psychological and internal than "real" and external. The narrator in the story frequently uses qualifiers, such as "seemed to," to reinforce the possibilty that the entire story of meeting the demonic figure, witnessing good people at a black mass, etc. may all have been a bad dream that embodies the main character's crumbling faith and growing misanthropy.

A number of elements in Hawthorne's story seem much more Puritan than Romantic. For example, nature in his story is dangeous and demonic place, not a temple to all that is good, and Native Americans are presented as devil-worshipppers and not as a purer form of humans. The one element that is intensely Romantic is the sustained emphasis on the individual's psychological state.

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