In the late 1830s and throughout the 1840s, many short stories and essays were seen to have similar subjects and themes. Two of the most well known authors of this time who's work exemplifies this were Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allen Poe. Their short story's, “Rappaccini's Daughter,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and “The Birth-mark” have similar aspects that can represent the popular thoughts and themes of the time.
One aspect that all three of these short stories share is the emphasis and use of nature. In “The Birth-mark,” Hawthorne describes how the alchemist creates potions and things out of nature and to be like nature, however, he also preludes to the idea that man should not try to alter nature. A symbol implicating this is when the doctor shows his wife, Georgiana, “a perfect and lovely flower...but Georgiana had no sooner touched the flower than the whole plant suffered a blight, its leaves turning coal-black, as if by the ageney of fire” (Hawthorne 423). It was a flower that was considered “perfect” through Aylmer's, the doctor, alchemy had created, yet it could not stay alive and grow as a natural flower would even with it's imperfections. Nature is also a major theme in another of Hawthorne's short stories, “Rappaccini's Daughter.” In this story a scientist by the name of Rappaccini has been using his own daughter as an experiment since she was born by having her grow side by side with a dangerous type of flower that as a result, his daughter, Beatrice, gains the poisonous qualities of the flower as her own. While these are uses of nature as the focal element, Edgar Allen Poe focuses on nature for a different reason, in “The Fall of the House of Usher,” the description of the nature of the setting creates the...
... middle of paper ...
...nd Poe was anti-transcendental) they had many similar subjects and themes that reflected what was popular at the time. Nature, death, and beauty as was popular then are still well loved subjects to read in the present.
Vukas, Dario. “Comparison of gothic elements in Edgar Allan Poe’s 'Fall of the House of Usher' with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 'Rappaccini’s Daughter'” http://www.academia.edu/2380330/Edgar_Allan_Poe_-_comparison_of_Gothic_elements
Hawthorne,Nathaniel."The Birth-mark." The Norton Anthology:American Literature.8th ed.Vol. B. New York:W.W.Norton,2012.418-427.Print
Hawthorne,Nathaniel."Rappaccini's Daughter." The Norton Anthology:American Literature.8th ed.Vol. B. New York:W.W.Norton,2012.428-450.Print
Poe, Edgar."The Fall of the House of Usher." The Norton Anthology:American Literature.8th ed.Vol. B. New York:W.W.Norton,2012.654-667.Print