This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Poe Vs. Hawthorne: Dark But Not Necessarily Gothic

1633 words - 7 pages

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, a new literary genre sprung up, the Gothic story. In the United States, the most prominent exponent of Gothic fiction was Edgar Allen Poe, whose “horror” tales conjure up the dark side that many of us at least half-believe is hidden just beneath the surface of the most conventional lives. In this paper we will discuss the Gothic in light of two of Poe’s stories, “Ligeia”, and “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and contrast Poe’s story with a somewhat dark tale of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, “The Minister’s Black Veil.” We will also analyze why Poe’s stories are Gothic’s and Hawthorne’s is not.
Critic Mark Edmunson calls Gothic literature “the art of haunting”, adding that “Gothic shows that life, even at it’s most ostensibly innocent, is possessed, that the present is in thrall to the past. All are guilty; all will, in time, pay the price. And Gothic should also possess the reader; scare him, so he can think of nothing else. He has to read it--or see it--again and again to achieve some peace.” Edmunson quotes Chris Baldick, author of a book on the Frankenstein myth, that Gothic literature "should combine a fearful sense of inheritance in time with a claustrophobic sense of enclosure in space, these two dimensions reinforcing one another to produce an impression of sickening descent into disintegration” (Edmunson, p. 48).
The Gothic imagination, in short, is contradictory to mighty American optimism. A nation of ideals, America has also been, not surprisingly, a nation of disillusionment, and we often find some sort of sympathetic resonance in tales of the dark and unholy. And the first prominent American exponent of the Gothic was Edgar Allen Poe. So what characterizes a Gothic story, and how do our three stories fit into this genre? Aside from sheer fright value, there are some common similarities. Most Gothic tales feature an exotic locale of some sort, typically an ancient and run-down family estate to which the narrator or protagonist is invited to stay (and in which they often later become trapped). Here is Poe’s description of the Usher estate in “The Fall of the House of Usher”: “With the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. . . I looked upon the scene before me . . . upon the bleak walls -- upon the vacant eye-like windows -- upon a few rank sedges -- and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees -- with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveler upon opium . . . There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart -- an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime” (Poe, 95). He adds that the entire house seemed to be surrounded by “an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn -- a pestilent...

Find Another Essay On Poe vs. Hawthorne: Dark But Not Necessarily Gothic

Compare and Contrast Poe’s Fiction to Hawthorne’s

667 words - 3 pages Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne were writers of the American gothic genre. They both used the elements of horror and mystery in their writing styles, writing about the dark side of humanity and the evil that lives within the human mind. Both used themes and symbols that focused on darkness and evil with their characters fighting various psychological issues. However, Poe’s stories are told in the first person narrative and he focuses on

Dark Romanticism in Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven

1035 words - 4 pages Dick and “Bartleby the Scrivener” from Herman Melville, and “The Minister's Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (“Nathaniel Hawthorne & Dark Romanticism” 20). Both Dark Romanticism and Transcendentalism were developed and peaked around the same time in the 1830-40s, but they had completely different sets of ideas (“Nathaniel Hawthorne & Dark Romanticism” 20; Bright Hub Education Writer). Dark Romantics believed man is inherently flawed and can not

The Subversive History of American Gothic

1235 words - 5 pages dark nightmare that is the underside of ‘the American dream,’” (167). Gothic works share commonalties, yet they are vastly different from one another. Authors, such as Charles Brockden Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Washington Irving wrote works addressing religious and historical issues, while Edgar Allan Poe wrote works of psychological terror and horror. E.D.E.N. Southworth and Louisa May Alcott’s work could be considered romantic fiction

A Comparison and Contrast of Poe’s Fiction to Hawthorne’s

1645 words - 7 pages Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne were writers of the American gothic genre. They both used the elements of horror and mystery in their writing styles, writing about the dark side of humanity and the evil that lives within the human mind. Gothic writing focuses on the dark side of humanity and both Poe and Hawthorne captured this style well in their use of themes, symbols, and narration that focused on darkness and evil with their

The Dark Side of Human Nature Analyzed Through Poe and Hawthorne's Perspective

1630 words - 7 pages motivate evil, and how is it perceived differently? Evil is profoundly immoral and/or malevolent and occurs when someone knows what they are doing is wrong and continue to do so. Dark Romantic authors like Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne use gothic elements in order to portray the dark and gloomy undertones of the psyche of the stories’ characters, and through the characters, essentially the nature of all humans. Section 2: Hawthorne

The Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe

1459 words - 6 pages When discussing romantic writers, Nathaniel Hawthorne, I believe, immediately comes to mind. Even though, Poe is not one of the authors that come to mind immediately, he cannot be forgotten as a romantic writer as well. People mainly think that Hawthorne and Poe are polar opposites but they are not so different. Yes, Hawthorne and Poe write differently and have different views they both write about the dark aspects of romanticism. When my sister

Edgar Allan Poe; Fame Inspired by a Tragic Life

2202 words - 9 pages Edgar Allan Poe's writings. "Graveyard that gave birth to a literary legend; Edgar Allan Poe was a child when he visited Scotland but what he saw helped make him the world's foremost proponent of gothic tales that chill spines even today." Daily Mail [London, England] 14 Apr. 2012: 44. Biography in Context. Web. 17 Apr. 2014 This is a collection of interviews from those who knew the family of Edgar Allan Poe in his young age. They describe a young

Templw Pettway Edgar Allen Poe Rough Draft

1140 words - 5 pages Arthur Gordon Pym was published in 1838. His two magazines were Burton`s Gentleman`s (1839-1840) and Graham`s Magazine (1841-1842).Poe`s 2 dark creepy tales are “The Fall of the House of Usher” and the “The Tell-Tale Heart”. Poe was the first American writer to become a major figure in world literature. His best known figure works were Gothic. His 1st book was “Tamerlane and other Poems” in December 2009 for $662,500. He also published an essay

Literature Works that Impacted Society

1613 words - 7 pages . Hawthorne’s literary works consists of Young Goodman Brown in 1835, Twice-Told Tales in 1837, A Virtuoso's Collection in 1842, Rappaccini's Daughter in 1844, Mosses from an Old Manse in 1846, and The Scarlet Letter in 1850. Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne are both recognized as Dark Romantics. Although it is not an easy task to find the comparisons between these two, each having their own writing encounters with good versus evil and/or sin and

Poe’s Description of Lenore, the Raven, and God in “The Raven”

1444 words - 6 pages saw the raven from the past (Poe, “Raven”). The bird did not move a muscle but sat in his house above the door (Poe, “Raven”). All the bird did was sit there and nothing more (Poe, “Raven”). It does not ever make a noise except the word that he says, “Nevermore” (Poe, “Raven”). The man just sat in his house all day and the bird never left (Poe, “Raven”). The narrator seems sad throughout the Poem (Poe, “Raven”). He is always giving the reader the

The Life and Writings of Edgar Allen Poe

978 words - 4 pages Richmond Virginia. For 11 months Poe attended the University of Virginia in 1826 but his gambling losses were so big that John Allan refused to let him stay. After Poe returned to Richmond he had found out that his old sweetheart Emily Royster engaged. He got into West Point Academy but he was later expelled because of him not attending drill and classes for a week (Edgar Allan Poe). As you see he had to endure many failures but during that he

Similar Essays

Comparing The Use Of Light And Dark By Melville, Poe, And Hawthorne

3189 words - 13 pages and dark-clad" to the reader - the elder witches. Considering that the story deals with the loss of faith replaced by doubt (Levin, 54), we can only assume that these dark clothed characters represent the sin that humanity has brought upon itself. YGB has been drawn to the sin, but hasn't yet partaken of it - he doesn't actually join the witches in the end. Nonetheless, Hawthorne wants us to understand that he was drawn to the dark side of human

Poe Vs Hawthorne Essay

762 words - 4 pages money. It is believed that John Allan lack of money to Poe caused him to purposely begin breaking the rules and ignoring his duties which led him to his dismissal. MORE Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and Elizabeth Clarke Manning Hathorne. The original name of the family was Hathorne, but Hawthorne added a 'w' later to separate himself from the history which included his great-great

Left Brain Vs. Right Brain: Debunked But Not Dead

1028 words - 5 pages Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain: Debunked but not Dead Over the past few decades popular culture has conditioned us to think that the way we learn depends on our personality and cognitive style. We have been taught that we are all either right-brained or left-brained thinkers, a theory called brain lateralization. The thought comes from the fact that certain functions come from one side of the brain or the other. Thus, if you are a logical thinker

Allegory, Symbolism, And Madness – Comparing The Demons Of Edgar Allan Poe And Nathaniel Hawthorne

4120 words - 16 pages the superstition of the Northman” (710). What Poe is describing is not necessarily a place, but rather a state of mind. Ringe’s understanding is that “The enclosures lead us back to the protagonists they symbolize […] [W]e must therefore turn to his protagonists if we are to perceive the thematic thread Poe developed in his Gothic fiction” (141). The overwhelming visual descriptions coincide with the ghastly mental state of the protagonist. Poe