Essay on The Romantic Era Of ' Walden ' And ' Young Goodman Brown '

Essay on The Romantic Era Of ' Walden ' And ' Young Goodman Brown '

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The Romantic Era brought a new meaning for Nature in America. Prior to this time, Nature was regarded as a place of spiritual and physical void, to be conquered and civilized in the name of Christianity and progress. Romantics redefined nature. Nature was to be experienced so that the individual could get in tune with his feelings and develop his own thoughts and beliefs in relationship with God. Romantics felt that God was accessible through man’s relationship and understanding of nature. Nature became a refuge for man’s soul in the industrialized world. While the Transcendentalists writers in the Light Romantic era and Dark Romantics both view of nature as a place of refuge from what was going on in America, their views of nature are very different as evidenced by the symbolism used. Allegories are stories that have a figurative meaning beneath the literal one: a story with two meanings where everything is symbolic. “Walden” and “Young Goodman Brown” are both Romantic allegories full of symbols to reveal the authors’ figurative meanings about Nature beneath the literal stories set in nature. Henry David Thoreau uses symbolism in “Walden” to show that Nature is inherently good while Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism in his “Young Goodman Brown” to show that Nature as flawed and as equally capable of sin and hate or good.
In Light Romantic/Transcendentalist works such as Thoreau’s “Walden,” the literal physical nature is beautiful, and figurative human nature is naturally good. Thoreau believes that Nature is an escape from everyday problems and a refuge where man can commune with God. Symbolism is plentiful in “Walden” which is written as an allegory. Walden Pond itself symbolizes the spiritual significance of na...

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...ung Goodman Brown,” human nature in naturally filled with a tendency to darkness or sin as well a capacity for goodness with the setting of nature being full of symbols of evil. Both Thoreau’s “Walden” and Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” are allegorical stories about the Nature! While both groups believe nature is a deeply spiritual force, Dark Romanticism found in works such as “Young Goodman Brown” views it in a much more sinister light than does Transcendentalism found in works such as “Walden.”

Works Cited
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “ Young Goodman Brown." The Norton Anthology of American 
 Literature. Gen. ed. Nina Baym. 8th ed. Vol. B. New York: Norton, 2012. 386-
395. Print.
Thoreau, Henry David. "Walden or Life in the Woods." The Norton Anthology of
Literature. Gen. ed. Nina Baym. 8th ed. Vol. B. New York: Norton,
2012. 981-1155. Print.

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