Essay on Comparing Love in Somnambulism and Charlotte Temple

Essay on Comparing Love in Somnambulism and Charlotte Temple

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Comparing Love in Somnambulism and Charlotte Temple

 
   In today's terms, love is an exciting, joyous, and uplifting experience to those who are fortunate enough to find it.  Literature from the late 18th century expresses a completely different view, however.  The literature of Susanna Haswell Rowson and Charles Brockden Brown show the 18th century view of love as something to be mistrusted, detrimental to the spiritual and moral well-being of those who are "in" it, and above all, show that it can only be controlled by and entrusted to the care of men.

            In her preface to Charlotte Temple, Rowson's purpose is clear: to show those "whose tendency might deprave the heart or mislead the understanding" (1328) that love is a catalyst for impulsiveness and bad choices, and is therefore not to be trusted.  Brown similarly voices the dangers of love in "Somnambulism" when Althorpe asks "what [is] this groundless and ridiculous persuasion that governed me...to be thus the slave of a fortuitous and inexplicable impulse?" (1345).  By loving Miss Davis, Althorpe feels that ...

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