Poe & Hawthorne

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Comparison/ Contrast of Poe/ Hawthorne

Poe and Hawthorne are the most significant American writers of 19th century. They have their own way of relating to their audiences that’s varied and similar at the same time. Poe’s writing involves the reader emotionally. Hawthorne on the other hand considers author’s imagination important and paints a picture based on it. These innovative thoughts and experimentations in language have forever changed what we appreciate in writing. Poe and Hawthorne used various techniques in their writing including symbolism, allegory, suspense, characterization and great use of setting to make it very real to the reader. Both gothic writers set a different mood for the reader in their writings.

Symbolism is present in stories to provide depth and insight into the plot. It’s the surroundings that make a character look a certain way to the reader. Both Poe and Hawthorne make use of symbolism in their writing. Hawthorne uses light and dark imagery in his short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil”. The main dark symbol comes in the form of the black veil that Mr. Hooper wears to represent some form of sin. The comparative light symbolism comes in less obvious forms during the story, like in the metaphor of a smile being a flame or flickering of a light, which makes you question if the truth is as dark as it is assumed to be by the town (Hawthorne). An example of this in “The Minister’s Black Veil” is a description of Mr. Hooper’s character, “If he erred at all, it was by so painful a degree of self-distrust, that even the mildest censure would lead him to consider an indifferent action as a crime” (Hawthorne) Poe uses strong forms of symbolism that are present throughout his stories. In Poe’s symbolism of dark deeds in “The Black Cat” is shown in how the creature itself is constantly provoking the narrator to insane violence. An ever-present symbol is also found in Dr. Heidegger’s study, where an old, tall mirror told...
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