Defining Literature: Frankenstein vs. Young Goodman Brown

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown, Short story Pages: 4 (1383 words) Published: June 6, 2011
The entire semester defining what Literature is has being the course’s quest. Literature is always changing; its definition has developed and changed from time to time. To find an exact definition of what is literature, it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. There have been several attempts to decipher this puzzle, in “What Is an Author” written by Michael Foucault, he emphasizes on the idea that an author exists only as a function of a written work. The author's name holds considerable power and serves as an anchor for interpreting a text. And “On the Sublime” written by Longinus, the writer states that the sublime implies that man can, in emotions and in language, transcend the limits of the human condition. This research paper consists in identifying the elements of literature by comparing two major pieces of work. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley warns that with the advent of science, natural questioning is not only futile, but dangerous. In attempting to discover the mysteries of life, Frankenstein assumes that he can act as God. He disrupts the natural order, and chaos ensues. In “Young Goodman Brown”, Hawthorne explores the nature of imagination and reality in this mysterious story by allowing the reader to actively question the reality of the night's events. He combines a multitude of elements into it creating a sense of mystery. The short story follows Goodman Brown’s journey resulting in his loss of faith. Literature allows the reader to feel, experience, and inhabit a character or place. It goes beyond the scope of everyday fiction, reaches new insights and allows the writer to reason with the audience. In Frankenstein the monster exemplifies the sublime written by Longinus. Shelley's descriptions of the monster and his actions coincide with Longinus’s definitions and his categories of obscurity, power, terror, difficulty and vastness, each of which facilitate sublime experiences: “the sources of all the good in us are also the sources of all the...
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