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Essay on Rappaccini’s Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Two boys stare at an unfamiliar girl sitting by herself and whisper, “She must be new,” to each other. They walk over to her, wanting to know about her, and ask her where she is from. The human tendency of wanting to know about the unknown is an idea writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne use in their works. Hawthorne uses the style of Romanticism, which was most prominent during the early nineteenth century and includes specific traits such as devotion to nature, feelings of passion, and the lure of the exotic. It also emphasizes traits including the idea of solitary life rather than life in society, the reliance on the imagination, and the appreciation of spontaneity. “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Hawthorne is about Doctor Rappaccini's garden and daughter Beatrice who live in Italy. A man named Giovanni living near the garden falls in love with Beatrice, but Beatrice is infused with poison and unintentionally kills living things that touch or go near her. “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a work of Romanticism because it includes Giovanni’s lure to the exotic, solitary life as a theme, and appreciation of nature in descriptions.
The lure of the exotic, an aspect of Romanticism, is present in Giovanni’s character. The author describes the flowers oddly by saying they were not indigenous to Italy, comparing them to other things such as snakes, and stating that they looked colorful and beautiful (Hawthorne). The flowers, based on this description, clearly attract attention because they are different. Next, Hawthorne writes, “He paused--hesitated--turned half about--but again went on.” During this part of the story, someone tells Giovanni about a secret entrance to Rappaccini’s abundant garden. Giovanni, wanting to run in...


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...atrice is passion. In brief, “Rappaccini’s Daughter” includes a minimal amount of Gothic traits, but it is actually Romantic.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story is a work of Romanticism. Giovanni exhibits the lure of the exotic especially in the descriptions and behaviors of the flowers. Also a theme of the story is solitary life rather than life in society. The descriptions of the flowers show an appreciation of nature. Gothic elements are present in the story; Beatrice is a mysterious character, but she provokes passionate feelings in Giovanni which is a Romantic trait. Beatrice and the flowers luring Giovanni is the same as the new girl sparking interest in the two boys, showing that Romanticism is a part of human nature.


Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” Sam Houston State University. Sam Houston State University, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.


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