Classic English literature: Nathaniel Hawthorne
There has been a lot of growth and development in the American literature docket over centuries, and it is necessary to note the fact that each phase has had various impacts, not only on the scholars in the American literary field and abroad, but also on the American people, themselves. Literature is one of the tools that have been used over the years to intrigue people’s way of thinking, and most essentially, their approach and opinion towards various aspects that affect their day to day activities and surroundings. This is one of the reasons why literature, as a tool of art, has been used to educate, rebuke, correct and inform. People have been able to look at the various aspects and view them from varied perspectives, and this is one of the most successful achievements that literature, as an artistic tool, has been accredited for (McMillan 34).
Background of the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works and nationality
One of the most essential readers to look at, in order to understand the American literature field, is Nathaniel Hawthorne. Various authors have been accredited to having contributed towards the development of nationality across the American people, especially, through their works. Some of these authors, especially in the Romantic and Transcendental eras, brought out the organization of the United States, as well as the people living in the country and their attitudes and opinions towards the country’s nationalism, the use of fictitious and non-fictitious works and literature highly contributed to this, in various ways. For example, through the use of fictitious works, the authors depicted fictitious and creative opinion and approaches that the United States people had towards their country, especially, bearing in mind aspects such as their diplomatic relations with other people from other countries, as well as other countries, at large. At the same time, the American authors in the Romantic and Transcendental eras, through their non-fictitious works, depicted the approaches and opinions that the United States people had towards their countries during these eras These are some of the factors and aspects that have promoted the Americans’ opinions towards given aspects in their lives. At the same time, some of the approaches that the authors had towards the American people’s opinion towards their country has rebuked and taught the current United States on what approach to have towards their country (Stobaugh 89).
Transcendentalism is one essential movement that is necessary to look at in the analysis of this paper, as it will play a major role in guiding the people in understanding the organization of the American people, especially from a patriotic perspective. Developed in the 1830s through to the 1840s, according to Nathaniel Hawthorne, transcendentalism was a theory that promoted goodness among the people, as well as harmonization of people and nature, since this was one of the relationships that was rapidly deteriorating, especially with the development taking place across the United States and beyond, mainly in technology and industrialization (34). This development left a major threat to Mother Nature, and this was one of the differences that Transcendentalism sought to bridge. Having been developed in Harvard University at a time when education was highly regarded and been adopted as a solution to most of the challenges facing the globe, many authors had adopted the theory as the main tool upon which they would create a foundation for their literary works.
Though he initially opposed transcendentalism, Nathaniel Hawthorne came to finally adopt this theory, when he realized that it was one of the tools that authors across the country were using to unite the people and create an environment of harmony between the people of America and the nature. Born in 1804, Nathaniel Hawthorne experienced the entire initiation, growth and development of transcendentalism (which developed in the early 1830s and was popularized in the 1840s) and experienced the impacts that it had on the American society, especially when adopted into and incorporated with other theories such as socialism, art and literature as seen in his book, Wakefield (Hawthorne 56).
Considering the fact that most of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works (which included both fictitious and non-fictitious works) mainly rotated around human nature and with more emphasis on the human being’s darker side (which is believed to be one of the reasons why he was initially skeptical about the transcendentalism), it will be necessary to look at his works, and how they have helped to shape the American society, especially, through creating unity, as well as developing a sense of cohesion among them. In most of his works, however, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works rotated around transcendentalism. For instance, in most of his works, especially his fictitious books (as well as his short stories), Nathaniel Hawthorne focused much on addressing the issues of unity among people, particularly the American society. At the same time, he pointed out the evils and challenges facing the American society, especially among their own selves, as well as America’s diplomatic relations with other countries, such as Europe (McMillan 115).
Literature, on the other hand, is yet another essential tool to consider, and in this case, it is necessary to look at it in depths. For example, considering the fact that every country and region has its own linguistic setting, this is one of the tools that various authors have used, not only to connect with their target audience, but also to establish a homely relationship and contact with them. Although most of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works targeted both the American audience as well as the international community, there are many aspects that made him establish a strong relationship with the American audience, mainly, based on his lingual approach in writing his books. Some of these aspects include the books’ settings, such as Young Goodman Brown, his 1835 short story.
This is one of his short stories, whereby, just like in most of his works, he has attempted to play a major role in exposing the vices that took place in the society in the nineteenth century, and in this case, he addressed hypocrisy in the Puritan culture (Hawthorne 67). One interesting to note concerning this short story is the fact that it has its setting in England, but directly connects to the American literature in several ways. For example, one of the aspects to note included the fact that he has gone out of his ordinary (which is romantic writing), to address the social, real life issues taking place in the society. This short story, therefore, looks at the journey of Goodman Brown, and some of the challenges that he experienced in a new environment. In his writing, therefore, Hawthorne analyzes the changes in humanity, whereby he says, “Humanity continues to change, with advancement in years.” In order to effectively address the issue of humanity, the short story has taken a brief look at Christianity, and how it affected the society, especially based on its values and practices (Hawthorne 58)
One property that identified authors’ work, especially in the seventeenth, eighteenth and the current centuries included the topics and themes that they addressed in their books. Every author had specific theme(s) that he addressed in all his projects, and that defined his works, either actively, or from a background perspective. This assisted the audience to relate to your work, as well as creating an identity different and authentic from other authors. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s case, for example, he focused much on sin, redemption and morality. These are the basic tenets that defined his works, and that connected him with not only the American audience, but also other audiences across the globe. At the same time, Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the American authors who were described as ‘typical’, meaning Americanized. This is unlike many other writers in various areas who depicted themselves as radical and volatile, without a defined sense of belonging and attachment to one region or country. Considering that the second half of the nineteenth century was characterized with globalization, most of the authors during this era attempted to remain radical, in order to connect with audience from various regions across the world. However, Nathaniel Hawthorne maintained his American appeal, and this is evident even in his Rappaccini’s Daughter.
In his Book, Rappaccini’s Daughter, there are several essential elements that Hawthorne has brought about, as he attempts to explain the essentiality of medicine and the role that it plays in the society (Hawthorne 45). Irrespective of the fact that the book has an Indian setting, Rappaccini's Daughter still maintains an American literature touch in his material, whereby some of the areas that he touches on include the American idioms and other American kinesics, which can, otherwise, be only understood by an American, or people who have grown up in the American environment. In this case, therefore, Nathaniel Hawthorne does not only manage to connect with the international audience, which in this case mainly include the Indian audience as the main targeted international audience, but also pulls the Americans closer home, by using lingual structures and items that only they can understand, comprehend and relate to. Idioms, for example, are some of the most used and applied tools in this book, and some of these include burning bridges, which was an idiom that was widely used in America in the nineteenth century (Hawthorne 68). This creates and brings a sense of unity across the Americans, as well as unites the American literature. This was one of the major goals that Hawthorne had when he wrote the book Rappaccini’s Daughter.
In conclusion, it is evident that Nathaniel Hawthorne played a major role in uniting the linguistic America, by upholding some of the most essential tenets and properties of American writing. In the process, he also managed to unite the Americans as one people. For example, according to James Stobaugh, some of the most essential things to note concerning his works include the fact that he upheld the four tenets and properties of American romance writing, that were used as early as the eighteenth century, and are still applied today, in modern linguistics, and these are fable, gothic, pastoral and travel guide (188). At the same time, most of his work in romantic writing revolved around sin, redemption and morality. These are some of the basic tenets that united the American literature and linguistics, since they are the main American Transcendental characteristics, and that are still in use today.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Franklin Pierce. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Marble Faun. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print.
McMillan, Terry. Breaking Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Fiction. New Jersey: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print.
Stobaugh, James. American Literature (Teacher). New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2012. Print.