Rappaccini's Daughter Questions and Answers
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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What elements in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Rappaccini's Daughter" characterize the romantic movement in American literature?

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Nathaniel Hawthorne, along with Herman Melville, is considered to be one of the primary novelists of the Romantic movement in American literature; Walt Whitman most exemplifies this movement in poetry. Hawthorne's short story "Rappaccini's Daughter" also exhibits many of the characteristics associated with the Romantic movement.

First, the story promotes the idea that the individual is more important than society. Clearly Doctor Rappaccini acted in his own self-interest when he conducted a deadly experiment with his daughter, Beatrice. Though he tells Beatrice he did everything to make her into some kind of super-human being, we understand that she was really just part of his grand experiment rather than a daughter he loved.

Second, in this story nature is used to reveal truth, which is one of the elements of Romanticism. Everything in this story is a lie except what the plants in the garden reveal; though Rappaccini has...

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