Romantic stories did not always end with a happy ending. In fact, the originals of the modern romantic stories were about the evil of human nature. The work of early American writers like Irving and Poe show the influence of European Romanticism. Irving would stress on nature, the supernatural, and superstitions in his stories. The supernatural, the emphasis of nature, and exotic locations were used in Poe's works.
Washington Irving would use an emphasis on nature, the supernatural, and superstitions in his stories. His story "The Devil and Tom Walker" pictured nature as mysterious. Tom walked through a swamp that was so thick that when it was noon it would be still be very dark. At times, water logs would look like alligators floating in the water. The supernatural area also played an essential role in the story. The devil, being the supernatural being, seemed to have the ability to trade riches for a person's soul. Tom, having sold his soul, wanted to outsmart the devil by recruiting the help of another supernatural power, God, by carrying a bible. In the end, the devil took his soul and he learned a lesson he cannot forget. Another of Irving's works The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, demonstrates the power than superstition can have over people. Ichabod Crane was a very careful man who avoided walking under ladders, crossing black cats, or tipping over the salt shaker. When Ichabod heard the legend of sleepy hollow, he was so frightened even then simplest of noises like cattails beating on a log, scared him. The characteristics of Irving's works have been clearly expressed, thus proving that his works were in fact romantic.
The supernatural, the emphasis of nature, and exotic locations were used in Edgar Allan Poe's works. Poe's story "The Fall of the House of Usher" involved the work of the supernatural. Usher was saddened by the loss of his sister to an illness. Strange things begin to happen as the narrator arrives: the outside is filled a strange, ghastly glow and the house seems to come alive. Near the end of the story is when the strangest supernatural thing occurs. The figure of Usher's sister flows through the hallway, takes Usher's life, and destroys the house. The same story has an emphasis of nature in relation to Usher's family. Over the years, the house had become cluttered with plants and fungi.