Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Compare and contrast the works of Hawthorne and Poe.

Expert Answers info

Name VonRueden eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write1,337 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

I would identify two principal differences between Hawthorne and Poe that would probably be seen by most readers.

First, Poe tends to present situations and imagery more openly shocking, violent, and gruesome than anything we see in Hawthorne—for example, the cruelty and sadism of the narrators in "The Black Cat," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Tell-tale Heart." All of these stories culminate in senseless murders. In "Hop-Frog," the title character can be viewed as justified in his revenge killings against the king and his courtiers, but the murders are carried out with a lurid brutality. Even in a tale such as "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," which is relatively less violent, the climactic imagery is horrific when Valdemar's body dissolves into a mass of putrefaction.

Poe's best-known works are thus more obviously part of the "horror" genre than Hawthorne's. Poe shows the physical detail inherent in horror but also depicts more emphatically than Hawthorne the extreme and...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1,198 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

lsilien eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write5 answers

starTop subject is Literature

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial