Nathaniel Hawthorne Questions and Answers

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In both The Scarlet Letter and in The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne creates characters who are conflicted on the inside but who rarely, if ever, demonstrate any external conflict. How is this an example of Dark Romanticism?

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In both novels, Hawthorne develops Dark Romanticism in his suggestion that evil is a malevolent force from which there can be no easy escape. Transcendentalist thinkers like Emerson and Thoreau stressed the ideas of "self- reliance" and affirmed the power of the individual being to bring goodness into the world. This is in stark contrast to the ideas of Dark Romanticism where there was an open exploration of the presence of evil in the world. Supernatural forces, individual motivations, and the overall nature of human sin all converged within the individual who was forced to recognize their condition amongst this presence.

The House of the Seven Gables embodies the idea that sin and evil are difficult to escape.  On face value, the house is seen as an embodiment of human endeavor with its construction as a mansion.  Yet, it is haunted as evil exists within the house and its narrative. Colonel Pyncheon's building of the house commenced a condition of evil is one that is inescapable, and...

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