Hawthorne as a Late Romantic Writer Hawthorne is not the typical Romantic writer In fact, some argue that his writing marks the beginning of a turn from Romanticism Rather than examining human possibilities, Hawthorn examined human limitations
Hawthorne (like all the Romanticists) focused on the supernatural mysteries and on individuality The mysteries of the human heart and the questions of human evil are the main subjects of Hawthorne’s work
“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” as an Allegory Allegory: An allegory is a work of literature in which characters or objects stand for certain abstract qualities, such as Hope, or Faith. In allegories, characters are representations of abstract human characteristics
What could the following characters allegorically represent? Mr. Medbourne? (greed) Mr. Gascoigne? (ambition) Colonel Killigrew? (gluttony) Widow Wycherly? (lust)
Using these allegorical figures, what does Hawthorne propose about the limitations of human beings at the end of the story? In other words, how would you define the theme of this story?
Theme: (The universal message or underlying idea in a literary work) In Hawthorne’s short story “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”, he uses allegorical representations of human traits in order to convey the theme that wisdom and judgment do not necessarily come with old age.
When we begin to read Hawthorne’s next short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil” (page 256) ask yourself the following questions when reading: How is “The Minister’s Black Veil” an example of Romantic Literature? How is this story similar to an allegory? How is it different? Also, watch out for symbolism!