What is considered evil? Is a person truly ever evil? If so, what leads into walking down this path? Could it possibly be a life-alternating event or influence from another outside force? Anti-transcendentalists believed in this presence of evil in humanity and that it was predominant in the lives of individuals. Anti-transcendentalists were the opposite of transcendentalists in terms of their overall views on life. Transcendentalists believed in the good or in other words, positive outlooks in life. Dark Romantics as anti-transcendentalists were sometimes referred to as being extremely popular during the mid-1800’s. This saw the rise of many prominent anti-transcendentalist’s writers, not just in America but abroad. Dark Romantics used symbolism in their literary works to show the prevalence of evil in society contrary to transcendentalist’s beliefs.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an active anti-transcendentalist, whose ...view middle of the document...
Hester is seen by everyone in the town as a castaway but she is not completely isolated from the community. She still managed to win a place in society for herself through absolute hard work—although she is not 100% accepted by the people. The scaffold is another example of how harsh society can act towards an individual. Whoever stands upon the scaffold project some kind of emotion or have emotions projected on themselves. The scaffold symbolizes how cruel public exposure can have on the people upon it.
Likewise, Washington Irving uses “The Devil and Tom Walker” to show how just a small amount of money can dull one’s senses to what is most important. As a result of this, greed can consume a person with the need for more money, whatever the cost may be, not caring about the people around them who may be affected as a result of their actions. Even going to such lengths as to living in a home that is anything but livable. Irving used Tom Walker’s house to describe this change in personality. Walker’s home can be described as having a broken-down, rustic look, showing how Tom and his wife are not even capable of taking care of their home due to the need not wasting their wealth. Tom’s greed overwhelmed him to the point that he got desperate enough to sell his soul. With the money he obtained from his deal with the Devil, he spent it on building his mansion. The mansion is described by Irving as the following, “He built himself... a vast house... but left the greater part of it unfinished and unfurnished... he even sat up a carriage... though he... starved the horse” (Irving 6). The appearance of the house was, it appeared vast on the outside, but void and barren on the inside. Irving does this symbolizing how Tom creates a façade around him of what he wants others to view him as but in reality Tom serves as an example of what can happen to any human consumed by greed. Tom’s need for money blinded him into selling the most important thing he had but sadly it came at such high price – his life.