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The Romantic Movement: Literature, Poetry, And Oil Paintings

1153 words - 5 pages

94% of Americans do some sort of romantic activity on February 14, also known as Valentines’ day. Contrary to popular belief, however, romanticism has little to nothing to do with this holiday. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables, many characters are brought to light that embody the romantic beliefs. In Dickinson’s poem, “A Bird Came Down the Walk”, she uses the love of nature that distinguishes the Romantic Movement. Albert Bierstadt’s ‘Valley of the Yosemite’ is a notable example of romantic art in the medium of oil painting, as it shows the beauty of nature as well. All three forms of art provide a magnificent illustration of the Romantic Movement. When searching for a romance in literature, however, one has to go no further than Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables.
Many of Hawthorne’s characters in The House of the Seven Gables personify the Romantic Movement. Clifford Pyncheon represents the beliefs of the Romantic Movement better than almost any other character in the novel. Clifford is a simple man who never really grew out of his childhood when it (the childhood) was taken away from him, and when freedom is given at a later point in time, he clings to his small yet consuming appreciation of beauty. He finds beauty in simple things; a sweet girl (Phoebe), or a flower garden, or the reading of poetry (provided that the reading is done by Phoebe). However, he also cannot stand to be around things that are not beautiful, such as his sister, Hepzibah Pyncheon, whom he has been separated from for 30 years. Hepzibah’s scowl, which is from nearsightedness, has scared away many people in her lifetime, but it is most damaging when it is her beloved brother who shrinks away from her in disgust. Clifford Pyncheon is a central protagonist in the novel. However, he is not the only one. Holgrave seems to be the character into which Hawthorne put most of himself. Holgrave is a modern character in the setting of the romance, and he provides a view into how Hawthorne’s mind worked. Life, Holgrave says, should be ever-changing, each generation of man undoing what the generation before him did, and redoing it all, only to be destroyed again. He says, “[I]t will startle you to see what slaves we are to by-gone times—to Death, if we give the matter the right word! . . . We read in Dead Men’s books! We laugh at Dead Men’s jokes, and cry at Dead Men’s pathos! . . . Whatever we seek to do, of our own free motion, a Dead Man’s icy hand obstructs us!” (Hawthorne 159) Holgrave seems to be disclosing that everything humans do is controlled by men who are already dead, and that this practice should be abolished. However, later in the novel, he switches his view and decides that he might to better to live with the stepping-stones of those dead men who came before him. An example of Holgrave’s specific byword of the Romantic Movement would be the telling of his story, the story of Alice Pyncheon. It is...

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