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Nathaniel Hawthorne: American Romanticism and Transcendentalism

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Nathaniel Hawthorne: American Romanticism and Transcendentalism An Introduction to The Scarlet Letter The European Romance Classical Romance Characteristics: Lovers ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Nathaniel Hawthorne: American Romanticism and Transcendentalism


1
Nathaniel Hawthorne American Romanticism and
Transcendentalism
  • An Introduction to
  • The Scarlet Letter

2
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Hawthorne was born on July 4th, 1804 in Salem,
    Massachusetts
  • Father Nathaniel Hathorne Sr. was a sea captain.
  • Mother Elizabeth Clarke Manning was a descendent
    of blacksmiths

3
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Hawthorne attended Bowdoin College
  • After his graduation he turned to writing.
  • He wrote several successful short stories which
    were collected in Twice-Told Tales (1837).

4
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Following university, Hawthorne returned to Salem
    where he met Sophia Peabody.
  • After a five year engagement, they were married
    in 1842.

5
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Unable to support his new family by writing, in
    1846 Hawthorne accepted a political appointment
    to the Salem Custom House as Surveyor of the Port.

6
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • This bureaucratic position stunted Hawthorne's
    creativity.
  • A change in administration, however, led to his
    termination in 1849.
  • Hawthorne's mother died at the same time.

7
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Suffering these losses, Hawthorne left Salem,
    which he called "that abominable city," saying
    that he now had no reason to remain.
  • He would never again return.

8
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Some critics have suggested that the loss of both
    his position and mother provided the creative
    impetus to write The Scarlet Letter (1850).

9
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Hawthorne's connection to Salem haunted him.
  • His great-grandfather John Hathorne was the
    chief-interrogator of the "Salem Witches."

10
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The story that Hawthorne added the "w" to his
    name to distance himself from his Hathorne
    ancestors has no clear evidence to support it.

11
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • In 1830, however, he published "The Hollow of
    the Three Hills," under the name of Nathaniel
    Hathorne.
  • After this date his name appears as Nathaniel
    Hawthorne.

12
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Other Published works
  • Twice-Told Tales, The House of the Seven Gables,
    The Mable Faun, Our Old Home, and children's
    books A Wonder Book, and Tanglewood Tales.

13
The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne died on May 18, 1864 in
    Plymouth, New Hampshire.
  • He is credited with writing the first truly
    American novel The Scarlet Letter.

14
Influences upon Hawthorne's Work
  • Marriage
  • Sophia desired to paint, write, and pursue a
    profession
  • She was limited by social constraints and
    motherhood

15
Influences upon Hawthorne's Work
  • Female characters are often portrayed as
    sympathetic
  • Idea of "Female Purity"
  • Influence of Puritan heritage

16
Influences upon Hawthorne's Work
  • Puritan New England
  • Many works are set in New England
  • Puritan belief in an "active evil" (Devil)
  • Salem communities are often viewed as
    hypocritical Salem Witch Trials

17
Literary Themes
  • Alienation a character is isolated due to
    self-cause or societal-cause
  • Guilt vs. Innocence a character's sense of
    guilt caused by Puritanical values/heritage

18
Literary Themes
  • Individual vs. Society
  • Self-reliance vs. Accommodation
  • Hypocrisy vs. Integrity
  • Fate vs. Free Will
  • Unconventional Gender Roles
  • Impossibility of Human Perfection

19
Imagery
  • Hawthorne makes use of the following patterns of
    images
  • Light vs. Dark
  • Natural vs. Unnatural
  • Sunshine vs. Firelight or Moonlight and
    Reflections

20
Romantic/Gothic Motifs
  • Fantasies
  • Dreams
  • Reveries
  • Open-ended endings and unanswered questions the
    open-ended possibilities of idealistic romance

21
Hawthorne's Views of Romanticism and
Transcendentalism
  • Hawthorne did not conform to the Romantic focus
    on the emotions and abandonment of reason.
  • Hawthorne strove to create a balance between
    "head and heart."

22
Hawthorne's Views of Romanticism and
Transcendentalism
  • Hawthorne believed that human fulfillment was
    achieved through a balance between mind, reason,
    heart, spirit, will, and imagination.

23
Hawthorne's Views of Romanticism and
Transcendentalism
  • Hawthorne's balanced approach placed him in
    opposition to Transcendentalists like Emerson,
    Thoreau, and Longfellow.

24
Clash with Transcendentalism
  • Hawthorne saw potential problems with Emerson's
    idea of self-reliance.
  • Self-reliance can lead to excessive pride.
  • Hawthorne believed in determinism, or natural
    order.

25
Clash with Transcendentalism
  • Transcendentalists were overwhelmingly
    abolitionists Hawthorne wasn't entirely sure of
    his position.
  • He questioned the motives and principles of the
    Northern authorities.

26
Clash with Transcendentalism
  • This point of contention was publicized in a
    series of articles by Hawthorne published in the
    journal The Atlantic, which was founded by
    Emerson and Longfellow.

27
Clash with Transcendentalism
  • The editorial staff of The Atlantic deleted large
    portions of Hawthorne's articles which contained
    ideas that disagreed with the abolitionist
    beliefs of the founders of the journal.

28
Clash with Transcendentalism
  • Hawthorne also added sketches throughout his
    edited published articles, written from the
    perspective of a "dimwitted editor" to show the
    hypocritical nature of his transcendentalist
    editors.

29
Clash with Transcendentalism
  • Hawthornes Response
  • "What a terrible thing it is to try to let off a
    little bit of truth into this miserable humbug of
    a world!"

30
Clash with Transcendentalism
  • In place of an unflattering description of
    President Lincoln that the editors deleted, he
    wrote
  • "We are compelled to omit two or three pages, in
    which the author describes the interview, and
    gives his idea of the personal appearance and
    deportment of the President. The sketch appears
    to have been written in a benign spirit, and
    perhaps conveys a not inaccurate impression of
    its august subject but it lacks reverence."

31
Clash with Transcendentalism
  • In place of another deleted section he wrote
  • "We do not thoroughly comprehend the author's
    drift in the foregoing paragraph, but are
    inclined to think its tone reprehensible, and its
    tendency impolitic in the present stage of our
    national difficulties."

32
European Romance vs.The American Novel
  • Hawthorne struggled against the European model of
    the Romance.
  • Through The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne developed
    the first truly American Novel.

33
The European Romance
  • The European Romance romanticized a rich past and
    historic culture.
  • It involved archetypal adventures.
  • It was escapist a means of escaping the here and
    now.

34
The European Romance
  • Classical Romance Characteristics
  • Lovers who remain true to each other, while the
    woman's chastity is preserved
  • An intricate plot, including stories within
    stories
  • Exciting and unexpected chance events

35
The European Romance
  • Classical Romance Characteristics
  • Travel to faraway settings
  • Hidden and mistaken identity
  • Written in an elaborate and elegant style

36
European Romance vs. The American Novel
  • America, however, had no rich culture or ancient
    history to draw from.
  • It was primarily concerned with the here and now,
    and how to perfect it.

37
European Romance vs. The American Novel
  • While maintaining the elements of the European
    Romance, Hawthorne shifted the American novel's
    focus to the present.

38
The American Novel
  • Hawthorne's novel was not a means of escape, but
    rather a means to examine society and life.
  • His novel invited criticism of the worlds he
    reflected Puritanism.

39
The American Novel
  • Where Romance incorporated the Gothic elements of
    crime, religion, ghosts, etc. as the focus of the
    story, Hawthorne used these elements as a means
    to support his story.

40
Hawthorne's Novel
  • "When a writer calls his work a romance, he
    wishes to claim a certain latitude, both as to
    its fashion and material, which he would not have
    felt himself entitled to assume had he professed
    to be writing a novel."

41
Hawthorne's Novel
  • Hawthorne's novel found relevance as more than
    mere entertainment, but as something more
    prophetic and integral to the American identity.
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