Nature And Nature In Transcendentalism In Rappaccini's Daughter

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Transcendentalism is a literary movement that developed in the early 1830’s and according to scholar Lawrence Buell in his book, Literary Transcendentalism; Style and vision in the American Renaissance, emerged “as an expression of radical discontent within American Unitarianism” (4). Transcendentalists rejected the strict Unitarian ways of thinking of the time period, which promoted reason and logic. Instead, they practiced a more spiritual and individualized way of life. They emphasized individuality, self-reflection, and encouraged the embrace of nature through which connection they could better know God on a spiritual and more personal level. This was radically different from other institutionalized religions at this time, one in particular, …show more content…
It is the sole element through which everything in this world, even spiritually, is connected and therefore they believe it can allow people to know God on a personal level. And according to transcendentalist thinking, God is must mean that because God is good, everything he makes is good. While nature plays a vital role in Hawthorne’s short story Rappaccini’s Daughter, unlike transcendentalists like Thoreau and Emmerson, Hawthorne moves from describing nature as an ideal setting in which everything takes place, to giving it actions of its own, both good and bad. Each plants description and interactions are written in a way that personifies nature. Hawthorne describes their interaction as that between two sisters. (1319). However even sisters can have arguments and fight. Personifying nature creates a link between humans, which transcendentalists might not have originally …show more content…
Hawthorne agrees with this thinking; however he realizes how important knowledge can be along with intuition. While Giovanni purely followed his gut instincts into Rappaccini’s gardens, which ultimately lead him to his love Beatrice, it was also his down fall because he failed to think rationally. He let his attraction for Beatrice over power his common sense. From the very beginning of this story Giovanni was told of the “strange” and “Potent” plants in Rappaccini’s garden and yet he didn’t research or ask any further questions about the garden (Hawthorne 1315). Compared to Giovani who lacked any logical knowledge about plants, Rappaccini’s is described as a “scientific gardener…looking into their [plants] inmost nature” (Hawthorne 1315). He is the complete opposite of Giovanni, only focusing on scientific research and logic. Yet he doesn’t seem to be portrayed in a positive light despite his knowledge because he let it become an unhealthy obsession. Hawthorne’s critique of transcendentalism is slightly less prominent in this field. He lays the evidence down to argue that one shouldn’t rely on just intuition or logical thinking to survive in life; rather it takes a combination of the two. Transcendentalists are to idealistic in thinking one’s intuition can be accurate in every circumstance. As Beatrice says to

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