Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'Egotism, Or The Bosom Serpent'

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Author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, in an excerpt from his novel, “Egotism; or The Bosom Serpent,” recounts a puzzling condition that Roderick Elliston suffers from. Hawthorne’s purpose is to convey the idea that, love can also be a force of destruction that brings harm to the people who express it. He adopts a despairing tone through the use simile, repetition, and imagery which appeals to the emotions of the readers and supports Hawthorne’s purpose.
Hawthorne begins his excerpt by addressing the assumed cause of Roderick Elliston’s puzzling behavior. He supports the tone of despair through the simile that implies the power that the condition has over him; “…his associates had observed a singular gloom spreading over his daily life, like those chill,
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The elements of style that Hawthorne employs include diction and imagery; “…had he been guilty of some deed which made his bosom a prey to the deadlier fangs of remorse” (Hawthorne 21-23). Hawthorne uses imagery-enhancing diction in order to highlight the hold that the ailment has over Roderick. The phrase, “deadlier fangs”, brings forth a terrifying image that holds a negative connotation. The image presents a very clear vision of how the ailment has altered the personality of Roderick. The “deadlier fangs” of the ailment have a hold on Roderick and every aspect of his life; his joy, happiness, and hope has been stolen. The author choses to employ this form of imagery in order to also steal the hope from the audience that Roderick’s condition will improve. The image is vivid and evokes feelings of fear from the audience. The audience is urged to mirror that feelings that are present internally in Roderick. The use of such vivid and fear-evoking imagery plays to the emotions of the audience and provide a clear depiction of the suffering of …show more content…
He appeals to the connotations that the audience associates with colors to develop a deeper understanding of the ailment; “…the blackest midnight was his chosen hour to steal abroad…” (Hawthorne 35-36). Hawthorne utilizes symbolic colors in order to present a distinct depiction of Roderick’s current circumstances. Roderick refuses to come out during the day which is a time of light and sunshine. Sunshine is often viewed as a symbol of happiness and pride. Roderick and his setting juxtaposes those ideals completely. Black is extremely symbolic and can be connected to shame, mystery and fear. Each of these characteristics can be found in Roderick. He only comes out during the “blackest midnight”; this demonstrates the shame and embarrassment that he feels due to the outcome of losing his wife. It can be inferred that his wife was the “light” of his life and without her, he now dwells in eternal darkness. Roderick’s ailment has completely taken over every aspect of his life and left him voiceless to the situation in the dark. Hawthorne’s choice of black color symbolism adds to the depth and complexity of the character and shines a light on the ailment for the

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