Style and Technique
“Ethan Brand” is subtitled “A Chapter from an Abortive Romance,” which may account for its fragmentary nature. More important, however, the subtitle is a reminder of Hawthorne’s concept of the romance as a neutral ground where the worlds of reality and fantasy could meet in a dreamlike setting. Thus, against the prosaic world of New England lime-burning, which is presented in realistic detail, there is the story of Ethan Brand’s search for the Unpardonable Sin accompanied by such gothic elements as the old Jew, who seems a devil figure, and the fantastic ending, which reveals Brand’s heart of marble. It is this careful blending of the real and the fantastic that gives much of Hawthorne’s work its unique flavor, and earns for him his reputation as America’s greatest romancer.