Edgar Allan Poe And Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

817 Words Nov 11th, 2015 4 Pages
Both Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne are regarded as some of the most influential American authors of the past, with Poe’s works inspiring those in the United States and abroad (687) and Hawthorne being viewed as “the most valuable example of American genius” (603) of his time. Their stories explore the tendencies of humans to sin and the descent of individuals into grief, sorrow, and madness. Although Poe and Hawthorne primarily explore the darker ideals such as outlining the thought processes of madmen, their method of approach to these topics is their greatest difference – which is readily apparent in The Minister’s Black Veil versus The Raven.
Hawthorne’s works center on the actions of an individual, such as the Minister in The Minister’s Black Veil, while they are being observed in third person. The individual’s morality, in the Minster’s case, remains ambiguous to both us and the other characters in the story. These characters’ input shape the story and give it direction, while the Minister makes no further changes to himself or his demeanor. Poe, in contrast, finds the darkness in his works by peering into the minds of madmen through a first person perspective. The main character’s madness evolves throughout the story culminating with a sudden realization of his own madness or exposure of his madness to the general public. In The Raven, we see a gradual degeneration of the narrator’s mental state as he converses with a raven that has flown into his room. The…

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