Hawthornes Thematic Ideas

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Hawthorne’s Thematic Ideas Nathaniel Hawthorne’s diverse body of work contains a wealth of reoccurring thematic ideas, most of which you can connect from story to story. His rich colonial heritage, having grown up in Salem, Massachusetts, helped give him insight into the subjects of guilt and sin, the boundaries between good and evil, love vs. destructive obsession and alienation. These ideas are shared with us as thematic ideas in some of his short stories; namely, “Rappaccini’s Daughter”, “The Birthmark”, “The Minister’s Black Veil”, and “Young Goodman Brown” to name just a few. In “Rappaccini’s Daughter” and “The Birthmark”, you have a series of allegories and thematic ideas that also parallel each other very well. For example, both are centered on a beautiful young woman who falls victim to a misguided scientist/idealist who loves her. Beatrice’s poison in “Rappaccini’s Daughter” parallels Georgiana’s birthmark in that both depend on these inherent flaws to live; yet they provide the source of their unhappiness and alienation. The reoccurring theme of isolation is further explored in “Young Goodman Brown,” however; it is utilized in a different way, as Goodman Brown chooses to isolate himself after having a revelatory moment in the forest. These two stories, on the contrary, delve into the imposition of alienation on these innocent women. Their flaws become the object of obsession in the eyes of both Aylmer and Rappaccini, the men who impose this mental and physical alienation on them. Elements of playing god God are touched upon even further in both works. In “The Birthmark”, the author says that Aylmer “had devoted himself too unreservedly to scientific studies,” ultimately resulting in Georgiana’s death after the birthmark is removed; where in “Rappaccini’s Daughter”, Rappaccini’s lust for scientific power and knowledge lead him to overlook the
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