The Call of “Bartleby the Scrivener” and “Young Goodman Brown”

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Short story, Herman Melville Pages: 4 (1411 words) Published: December 17, 2010
Authors truly have endless opportunities as far as creating effects is concerned. They can create effects by what they say and they also can create effects by what they do not say, or what their characters do not do. In 19th century American literature, we see the use of the latter tool in “Bartleby the Scrivener” and “Young Goodman Brown”, where authors do not give the full information about their characters and events to create the desired effects. In Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener”, the enigmatic title character “prefers not to” do things. On the other hand, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”, the lead character appears to be affected by his own inability to discern the truth and thus becomes a character that fails to trust anything or anyone in life. In this short story Hawthorne does not confirm us whether Goodman Brown’s experience at all happened or it was just a dream; but this holding back of information creates the desired effect that I will explore shortly. Our main focus today is perhaps not only to examine the tools authors use but to investigate how Bartleby and Goodman Brown, two characters that have the 19th century Dark Romanticism paint in them ultimately urges the dawn of idealism or transcendentalism, a popular genre of the 19th century American literature.

It is in human nature to try to solve the mysteries it faces or the questions that are put forward to it. Sometimes authors provide solutions for the problems they portray and often they simply leave hints and invite the readers to find the answers themselves. Both “Young Goodman Brown” and “Bartleby the Scrivener” are stories that invite the readers to go searching for answers. Though there are certain differences between Bartleby and Goodman Brown in terms of their ability, they both show a dearth of knowledge in terms of what they should really do. Compared to Bartleby, Goodman Brown simply looks at a loss about what he ought to do. Bartleby is a character who...
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