Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work is unique. His writings are full of subtle imagination, analysis, and poetic wording. His short stories are known for their originality and for their ability to provoke the reader’s thoughts. Although a large portion of his stories are allegories, Hawthorne’s preference is to draw more heavily on symbolism (Pennell 13). His use of symbols adds depth to his stories and helps to reveal different aspects of his characters. In Rappaccini’s Daughter, Hawthorne uses symbolism to create a modern day tale of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
There are two settings for this story. The first and main setting is an eye appealing garden next to Giovanni Guasconti’s room which is located in Padua, Italy. This garden is used in this story as a symbol for the Garden of Eden. The garden is described by Hawthorne in such a way that the reader can almost picture a garden that is alive with vibrant colors and an array of flowering plants and shrubs. There are a variety of types of plants and herbs growing in the garden. Some of the plants are vines, some are growing in decorative urns, and some have grown wild until they were wrapped around statues (2217). The entire garden was “veiled and shrouded in a drapery of hanging foliage” (2217). The plants in the garden “seemed fierce, passionate, and even unnatural” to Giovanni (2225). Some of the plants in the garden “crept serpent-like along
the ground” (2217). In the middle of the garden is a marble fountain. While it is in ruins, it is “sculptured with rare art” (2217). The fountain continues to flow and provide water for the plants of the garden. This fountain is comparable to the tree of life and the river that waters the Garden of Eden (Norford). Giovanni associates this fountain as an “immortal spirit” (2217). The shrub with the purple flowers that is growing at the base of the fountain can be equated to the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden (Norford 179). Within both gardens, the fall of man takes place. In Eden, it is the fall of...
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...od created Eve as a mate for Adam so that he would not have to be alone. Rappaccini feels he has given Beatrice and Giovanni a marvelous gift. He is proud of the fact that he has given Beatrice and Giovanni the power to keep the outside world away (Kloeckner 335). Similarly, God gave Adam and Eve the wonderful gift of everlasting
life. Throughout the story, Hawthorne shows a pronounced respect for Rappaccini’s intelligence.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lost their innocence and their purity when they did not listen to God. When they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they disobeyed God. This was a direct result of pride. In Rappaccini’s Daughter, innocence and purity are taken from Beatrice by the conflict between Dr. Rappaccini and his adversary Professor Baglioni. Innocence is lost for Giovanni through his involvement in Beatrice’s death (Pennell 61).
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