In both "Excelsior" and "A Psalm of Life", Longfellow creates the two different Romantic heroes with specific inner lights. Although the two different characters have separate goals, both their jobs reject materialism and general policies. In "Excelsior", for instance, the "youth, who bore 'mid snow and ice, a banner with a strange device", is considered an outsider. People observe the boy as he strolls through the town. None of the people recognize him. He, in the town's peoples' minds, is a foreigner. The fact that he is on a mission, with a strange device, is so unfamiliar to them that they find him odd. The old man, the maiden and the peasant all attempt to warn the boy, but he just replies, "Excelsior", and continues on his expedition. In "A Psalm of Life", the mission is not an actual device; rather, it is a strong opinion. The Romantic hero in this poem is so avid on forcing the reader to save themselves from the Church's preposterous traditions, that he makes that his goal. Longfellow declares that he believes in the afterlife and that contrary to Christian belief, the body will not return to dust, thus becoming cyclical event. Longfellow's Romantic he...
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... pass away on a mountain top in order to create a peaceful imagery. However, Hawthorne uses the forest, or nature, to show how everything and anything can be used for evil. His pessimistic outlook of nature is clearly shown when Hawthorne sets the assembly of evil characters, Satan and his servants, in the forest.
Hawthorne cynical nature differs greatly from that of the typical Romantic authors. Hawthorne is considered to be an Anti-Romantic author because his work, unlike Longfellow's, does not include many of the critical qualities that created an American hero. Hawthorne's Romantic hero begins his mission by following his inner light, but he is not able to achieve his goal. Through two of Longfellow's works, "A Psalm of Life", and "Excelsior", Longfellow's Romantic heroes both follow their inner lights, try and achieve their goals and set examples to all.
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