Presentation on theme: "This week IV. Literature of the American Renaissance (1837-1865) Nathaniel Hawthorne Herman Melville."— Presentation transcript:
This week IV. Literature of the American Renaissance (1837-1865) Nathaniel Hawthorne Herman Melville
Nathaniel Hawthorne Born in Salem, MA (1804) Ancestors Puritans Lived in Salem & Concord Worked in Custom House in Boston & Salem Scarlet Letter made him independent Died 1864
Literary works Twice-told tales (1835) ”Young Goodman Brown” ”Ethan Brand” ”My Kinsman, Major Molineux” Scarlet Letter (1850)
Major themes Nature of sin & guilt Puritan past Isolation & alienation Human heart Effects of a personal calamity Self-trust vs. authority
Scarlet Letter Characters Hester Prynne Arthur Dimmesdale Roger Chillingworth Pearl
Scarlet Letter Opens in town square Hester required to name father of child Refuses Forced to wear ”A”
Scarlet Letter Meaning of letter… Adultery Angel Able Pride Community’s shame Hidden shame
…the wearer of the scarlet letter was at length relieved, by discerning, on the outskirts of the crowd, a figure which irresistibly took possession of her thoughts. An Indian in his native garb was standing there; but the red men were not so infrequent visitors of the English settlements that one of them would have attracted any notice from Hester Prynne at such a time; much less would he have excluded all other objects and ideas from her mind. By the Indian's side, and evidently sustaining a companionship with him, stood a white man, clad in a strange disarray of civilized and savage costume.
But Hester Prynne, with a mind of native courage and activity, and for so long a period not merely estranged, but outlawed, from society, had habituated herself to such latitude of speculation as was altogether foreign to the clergyman. She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness.... The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers,—stern and wild ones,—and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.
Symbols in Scarlet Letter forest vs. town rose vs. prison Pearl
“Mother,” said [Pearl], “was that the same minister that kissed me by the brook?” “Hold thy peace, dear little Pearl!” whispered her mother. “We must not always talk in the market-place of what happens to us in the forest.”
Herman Melville Born 1819 in NYC Sailed in whaling ship as young man (1840s) Began writing upon return in 1845. Most works focused on sea
Literary works- novels Typee (1846) Omoo (1847) Mardi (1849) White-Jacket (1850) Moby Dick (1851) Pierre (1852) The Confidence Man (1857)
Moby Dick Meaning of the Whale? –Unknowability of God? –Evil? –Indifference of nature? –Impossibility of single meaning?
Melville – short works ”Bartleby, the Scrivener” ”Benito Cereno” ”Billy Budd”
Melville - Themes sea & life on ship man & God native peoples indeterminancy
Bartleby Industrialization & work world? Futility of man’s existence? Individualism & free will (Thoreau)? Plight of writer (autobiographical)? Charity? Bartleby as aspect of narrator? ???
Benito Cereno American ship & Spanish slave ship Characters: –American captain –Spanish captain –Babo, a slave American captain’s inability to recognize mutiny on ship?
Hawthorne & Melville Admired & respected each other Both probed metaphysical questions and dark side of human soul Hawthorne recognized during lifetime Melville rejected by public after Moby Dick Neither in keeping with spirit of times
Next week IV. Literature of the American Renaissance Ralph Emerson Henry David Thoreau Read Walden extract!!