Analysis Of Wieland Or The Transformation By Charles Brockden Brown

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Charles Brockden Brown is often referred to as “the father of the American novel.” Whether or not this is an accurate title, he is indubitably the father of American gothic fiction; Wieland; Or the Transformation is the first notable American gothic novel. Wieland is a story replete with insecurity and confusion as Clara, a self-admittedly unreliable narrator, recounts her brother’s murder of his family. Through his adoption of different voices, Carwin, a devilish and mysterious outsider, is easily able to disrupt the lives of the siblings and drive them insane. Although taking place in the years before the American Revolution, Wieland was published in 1798, when America was still in its relative infancy. America at this time was characterized …show more content…
When speaking to her uncle, he tells Clara a story about her maternal grandfather in which he heard the voice of his dead brother and then jumped off of a cliff and plummeted to his death (164). From this story, Brown shows that madness exists not only from their father’s side of the family, but from their mother’s as well. Clara reports that her “astonishment was great” when she heard this story, as she is surprised at there being a history of hearing voices in their family (164). Clearly, Clara has not completely accepted or acknowledged the influence that her ancestry has had on her own state of …show more content…
As incorrigible and meddling as Carwin is, it is not truly his interference that causes the downfall of the family. If they were not influenced by their family history, they would not have been susceptible to his trickery. Regarding Wieland, he is very easily convinced to murder his wife and children. In his testimony, he stresses his devotion to God, saying “‘It is needless to say that God is the object of my supreme passion”’ (151). However, he also admits that “‘dissatisfaction has insinuated itself into all [his] thoughts”’ regarding his search for divine guidance (151). Nonetheless, he immediately places full belief in the divinity of the voice that commands him to commit the murders. Here, one is reminded of Wieland’s father and his own religious fanaticism. Even early in the novel before he embarks on his murderous rampage, Clara notes Wieland’s preoccupation with his father’s death: “His father 's death was always regarded by him as flowing from a direct and supernatural decree. It visited his meditations oftener than it did mine. The traces which it left were more gloomy and permanent” (33). Clearly, Theodore has inherited his father’s proclivity towards madness and

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