Title

Effects of Ideals upon Characters in Hawthorne's Fiction

Date of Award

1976

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

Advisor(s)

Thornton H. Parsons

Keywords

Alice Doane's Appeal, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Realism

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature

Abstract

"Alice Doane's Appeal," one of Nathaniel Hawthorne's earliest writings, may have been given its final form before 1830. In many ways it is a puzzling tale, inviting conjectures about its meaning. One very strong possibility is that it is primarily a rather self-conscious statement of intentions at the beginning of the writer's career. Hawthorne may have been presenting indirectly his conviction that imaginative portrayals of the historical past would be more effective than ghastly and artfully conceived fictions of the sort that had been written by Charles Brockden Brown and other Gothicists. The Leonard-Walter-Alice Doane story may have been presented in its highly fragmented form because Hawthorne contended himself merely signaling to his readers the type of fiction that they already knew and that he felt had been overworked. For more effective stirrings of the reader's emotions the writer could turn to the grim realities of such episodes as the Salem witch hangings.

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