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19 th century (approx. 1840- 1860) literary movement that focused on the dark side of humanity and the evilness and guilt of sin.

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Presentation on theme: "19 th century (approx. 1840- 1860) literary movement that focused on the dark side of humanity and the evilness and guilt of sin."— Presentation transcript:

1 19 th century (approx. 1840- 1860) literary movement that focused on the dark side of humanity and the evilness and guilt of sin

2  Opposed the optimism and naïve idealism of the transcendentalists  Dwelt on guilt and remorse over past sins  Discontented with current circumstances in America (poverty/unjust and cruel treatment of factory workers, poor educational system, lack of women’s rights, slavery…) so they focused on moral dilemmas and society’s ills

3  Prose (short stories and novels)  allegory

4  A story with both a literal and symbolic meaning  Simple, usually short, story that teaches a moral lesson  Fable = animals  Parable = human beings

5  Something that has meaning in itself while also standing for something greater Ex: In “The Minister’s Black Veil,” there is a literal veil covering his face, but it also represents a deeper idea (a symbolic meaning)

6  Belief in the potential destructiveness of the human spirit  Belief in individual truths, but no universal truths, and the truths of existence are deceitful and disturbing  Human nature is inherently sinful (original sin) and evil is an active force in the universe  Focus on the man’s uncertainty and limitations in the universe

7  Nature is vast and incomprehensible, a reflection of the struggle between good and evil  Nature is the creation and possession of God and it cannot be understood by human beings

8 Transcendentalists:  Saw divine goodness and beauty beneath everyday reality  Embraced the mystical and idealistic elements of Puritan thought Anti-Transcendentalists:  Believed spiritual truths may be ugly or frightening  Reintroduced the dark side of Puritan beliefs: the idea of Original Sin and the human potential for evil

9 Both believed that…  True reality is spiritual.  Intuition is superior to logic or reason.  Human events contain signs and symbols of spiritual truths.

10  Man vs. Nature conflicts bring out the evil in humanity  Raw and morbid diction  Focus on the protagonist’s inner struggles  Typical protagonists are haunted outsiders who are alienated from society  Prevalent use of symbolism

11  “As the moral gloom of the world overpowers all systematic gaiety, even so was their home of wild mirth made desolate amid the sad forest.” “The Maypole of Merrymount “(1836)

12  Born July 4, 1804 in Salem, MA  Father died when Hawthorne was four years old;  Sent to private school once his relatives discovered his storytelling abilities  Sent to Bowdoin College in Maine; classmates with Franklin Pierce (future president) and Henry Longfellow (poet)  Published some early works, which he renounced and later burned  Editor for The American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge in 1836  Later joined the writing circles of Thoreau, Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott.  Influenced by his Puritan family background, belief in the existence of Hell and the Devil, and the theory of determinism


14  The Scarlet Letter Novel about sin, guilt, adultery  The House of the Seven Gables Novel about guilt, atonement; supernatural, witchcraft  “The Minister’s Black Veil” Short story about secrets and sin

15  “All men live enveloped in whale- lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever- present perils of life.” --Moby Dick

16  Born in New York to bankrupt family which fell apart and so he dropped out of school  Began various voyages at sea  Became friends with Nathaniel Hawthorne  Wrote several different novels about experiences on the open ocean  Eventually “sold out” to write popular fiction, even though he hated it, in order to make enough money to live on  Moby Dick and other novels not successful at time of publishing, but became widely acclaimed after his death


18 but he shows passionate empathy for “classes of men who bear the same relation to society at large that the wheels do to a coach.”

19  “If, at my death, my executors, or more properly my creditors, find any precious manuscripts in my desk, then here I prospectively ascribe all the honor and glory to whaling; for the whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.”

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