It is a fact that people are influenced by their environment in which they live; if certain elements of this environment are in accord with what their natural predispositions are, people will embrace the influence of these elements and thinking. However, if these attitudes and ideals are the antithesis of their thinking, then a new movement of thinking usually commences.
Because Hawthorne's and Poe's view of the world was profoundly opposed to the optimistic views of their predecesors, Thoreau and Emerson and their followers, became what is referred to as the Dark Romantics. Nevertheless, they were affected by the environment of the Transcendentalists because they valued intuition over logic and reason. Both groups also saw signs and symbols in human events. In fact, the Dark Romantics employ the literary technique of symbolism to great effect. For instance, Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" is replete with profound symbols, such as the letter and little Pearl. And, Poe, of course used cats, ravens, houses, the Red Death, and many other forces as symbolic.
While the Dark Romantics such as Hawthorne and Poe and Melville did not disagree with Emerson's belief that spiritual facts lie behind the appearances of nature, they did disagree that these facts must be necessarily good, or harmless. Hawthorne, for instance, suggests in his writing that Emerson merely takes the ecstatic, mystical elements of Puritan thought, ignoring the darker side--the Calvinistic sense of innate depravity of human nature, and the also Calvinistic notions of predestination. Hawthorne's perspective in his works is on both the mystical and the melancholy aspects of Puritanism and its thought.
In Hawthorne's and Poe's work, there is an exploration of the darker side and its conflict with good, the psychological effects of guilt and sin, and even madness and derangement in the human psyche. Behind what Herman Melville has called the "pasteboard masks" of social respectability, the Dark Romantics see the blankness and the horror of evil, a couterpoint to the optimism of the Transcendentalists.