Hawthorne: Experiments Gone Wrong Essay

Hawthorne: Experiments Gone Wrong Essay

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Nathaniel Hawthorne is an author whose major fiction writing has influenced the literary world greatly during the course of the nineteenth century. His work during the Romantic period represents his world view through a specific style of writing. While his literature is particularly dark in tone, his short stories show a variety of symbols, themes, and characters. “The Minister’s Black Veil,” “The Birthmark,” and “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” are three of Hawthorne’s short stories that illustrate the similar and different nuances in tone and meaning seen in his writing.
One common theme found in these three short stories is experimentation. In each of the short stories’ plots, there is an experiment of some sort undertaken in order to improve the human condition. The most obvious of these is the experiment found in “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment.” Dr. Heidegger is an elderly doctor who calls together four old friends. Three are “white-bearded gentlemen, Mr. Medbourne, Colonel Killigrew, and Mr. Gascoigne” (Hawthorne, “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” 12), and the other is “a withered gentlewoman, whose name [is] the Widow Wycherly” (Hawthorne, “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” 12). Dr. Heidegger calls them to his house so that he can try an experiment out on them. He first shows the elderly group a concoction he has and then pours it over an old and dried rose that his old lover gave him. Soon the flower grows its old color back and restores its previously vibrant qualities. The four elderly friends beg to try the mixture and soon they are back in the prime of life. At one point many years ago the three gentlemen had each been in love with Wycherly. After taking the mixture and becoming young again, the men return to their fight over the Widow...

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...tories that represent the similar and differing elements found in his writing.

Gorman, Herbert Sherman. "Hawthorn on Solitude” The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005. 15-16. Print.

Hawthorn, Nathaniel. "Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment." The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005. 12-15. Print.

Hawthorn, Nathaniel. "The Birthmark." The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005. 5-12. Print.

Hawthorn, Nathaniel. "The Minister’s Black Veil." The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005. 1-5. Print.

Walsh, Conor. "Aminadab In Nathaniel Hawthorne's THE BIRTH-MARK." Explicator 67.4 (2009): 258-260. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Feb. 2012.

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