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PPHS English 332
American Modernism Project
American Romanticism Project
Aspects of American Romanticism
List of Romanticism Works
A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe
A Rainy Day by Nathaniel Hawthorne
A Walk at Sunset by William Cullen Bryant
Alone by Edgar Allan Poe
Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
Dream-Land by Edgar Allan Poe
Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe
Eleonora by Edgar Allan Poe
Forms of Heroes by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hop-Frog by Edgar Allan Poe
Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe
Little Annie's Ramble by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe by Nathaniel Hawthorne
My Love by James Russell Lowell
My Low and Humble Home by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Paradise of Bachelors and the Tarturus of Maid by Herman Melville
Silence by Edgar Allan Poe
Spirits of the Dead by Edgar Allan Poe
The Ambitious Guest by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Balloon Hoax by Edgar Allan Poe
The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe
The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe
The Bridal Ballad by Edgar Allan Poe
The Canterbury Pilgrims by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
The City in the Sea by Edgar Allan Poe
The Coliseum by Edgar Allan Poe
The Darkened Mind by James Russell Lowell
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
The Gold Bug by Edgar Allan Poe
The Happiest Day by Edgar Allan Poe
The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe
The Lake by Edgar Allan Poe
The Last Leaf by Oliver Wendell Holmes
The Lightning Rod Man by Herman Melville
The Man of the Crowd by Edgar Allan Poe
The Martyr by Herman Melville
The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe
The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe
The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe
The Sleeper by Edgar Allan Poe
The Spectacles by Edgar Allan Poe
The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether by Edgar Allan Poe
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
The Valley of Unrest by Edgar Allan Poe
To the River by Edgar Allan Poe
Ulalume by Edgar Allan Poe
What the Birds Said by John Greenleaf Whittier
William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe
Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a number of works, including many short stories, novels, and poems. He was greatly affected by events in his life and some of the people that he met and was involved with. He leaned toward the side of Dark Romanticism, because he saw the guilty and sinful side of people. He was a complex man, because he agreed with different writing styles over the course of his life, but that could have happened because his perspective changed. His stories helped set a precedent for Dark Romanticism, and many people can draw off of his works.
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a short story called "Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe" where a tobacco peddler, traveling from town to town, hears a outrageous story (Hawthorne, "Mr."). He is a huge gossip, and he enjoys telling the latest news (Hawthorne, "Mr."). One day, as he is traveling along, he comes across a man that is walking alone down the road (Hawthorne, "Mr."). The peddler asks if he has heard the latest news, and the man tells the peddler that Mr. Higginbotham has been killed while he was walking home through his orchard by an Irishman and a black man, and he was hung up on a pear tree in the middle of his orchard (Hawthorne, "Mr."). The peddler, Dominicus, then goes into the next town and spreads this story everywhere throughout the town (Hawthorne, "Mr."). They all believe him and are in an uproar when a farmer confronted Dominicus and told him that Mr. Higginbotham was still alive (Hawthorne, "Mr."). The farmer could tell him this because the farmer had had drinks with Mr. Higginbotham that morning (Hawthorne, "Mr."). Dominicus became upset for losing his glory, withdrew to his room, and quietly left that town the next morning (Hawthorne, "Mr."). He then came across a black man who was walking alone down the road (Hawthorne, "Mr."). Dominicus calls out to him and asks if he knows the real story about Mr. Higginbotham (Hawthorne, "Mr."). The black man becomes very pale and says that Mr. Higginbotham was not killed two nights ago, he was only killed last night at eight o'clock by an Irishman and hung up on a pear tree in the middle of his orchard (Hawthorne, "Mr."). Dominicus takes this black man's word that the story is true, and in the next town he spreads this story everywhere (Hawthorne, "Mr."). This city is even more upset, because Mr. Higginbotham helps pay for their cotton mills (Hawthorne, "Mr."). They come up with a huge elaborate story about how he died and how his relatives are so upset (Hawthorne, "Mr."). Soon, the mail coach comes through the town, so all of the citizens surround the coach and start begging the people in it to tell them the story about Mr. Higginbotham (Hawthorne, "Mr."). The people that come out of the coach are a lawyer and a young lady, and before people know what is going on, the young lady swoons (Hawthorne, "Mr."). The lawyer is confused and asks the town what they were saying (Hawthorne, "Mr."). They tell him that Mr. Higginbotham has died, and he declares the opposite to be true (Hawthorne, "Mr."). He says that Mr. Higginbotham sent him a note last night and it was signed and dated at ten o'clock the night before (Hawthorne, "Mr."). Quickly, the lady came to, and she declared herself to be Mr. Higginbotham's niece (Hawthorne, "Mr."). She said that she had talked to Mr. Higginbotham this morning before she left on the coach, and he gave her money for her trip (Hawthorne, "Mr."). The people saw that she was being completely truthful, so they believed her and began to get upset with Dominicus (Hawthorne, "Mr."). The young lady jumped to his rescue, though, so he quickly and meekly left the town and was on the road again (Hawthorne, "Mr."). He soon made it to Kimballton, where Mr. Higginbotham lived, and it was right before eight o'clock (Hawthorne, "Mr."). He realized that the stories that he had come across must have some sort of start, so he hurried to the center of Mr. Higginbotham's orchard where he found an Irishman attacking Mr. Higginbotham and trying to hang him up in a pear tree (Hawthorne, "Mr.")! Dominicus rushed to the rescue and saved Mr. Higginbotham while killing the Irishman (Hawthorne, "Mr."). The confusion can be explained, because three men had plotted the robbery and murder of Mr. Higginbotham, but the two men that Dominicus had met on the road had both lost their courage, and pushed the murder back by one night, trying to make it more believeable (Hawthorne, "Mr."). Dominicus appeared just as the third man was in the act of committing the crime, and he saved Mr. Higginbotham's life (Hawthorne, "Mr."). Mr. Higginbotham found favor in Dominicus, and he gave Dominicus the address of his niece, the young lady that he had met in the second town he had come to (Hawthorne, "Mr."). They got married and had children that Mr. Higginbotham gave all his property to, while giving Dominicus and his niece the interest (Hawthorne, "Mr."). Eventually Mr. Higginbotham died a normal death of old age while laying in a bed, and after that Dominicus moved his family to a different town and set up a tobacco factory (Hawthorne, "Mr.").
This work definitely fits under the category of Romanticism, and some people may even put it under Dark Romanticism. "Mr Higginbotham's Catastrophe" shows many of the characteristics of Romanticism, which can be seen in every sentence. The short story was very descriptive, which was very important to that writing style. It talked about every little detail of each of the times that Dominicus met a man on the road. There is a youthful hero in the story, which can be seen in Dominicus, because he shows youthful characteristics. He shows some immaturity and the need for attention, but he also learns his lesson at the end of the story and was incredibly brave when he was saving Mr. Higginbotham. Hawthorne used language that was not always necessary, but they added to the story because they allowed the reader to paint a mental picture of the scene and experience the story better. "Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe" is a very good story that showed many of the characteristics of Romanticism.
Nathaniel Hawthorne had many things in his life that led him to write the way he did. He often wrote about the sins of humans and the guilt that they felt. He went for the darker side of stories, and that could have been because of some of his anscestors and their part in the Salem witch trials (Liukkonen). John Hawthorne, one of his father's ancestors, was one of the judges during the trials, and he helped to execute a number of people (Liukkonen). Hawthorne's father also died when Hawthorne was very young, and that could have affected his life in a number of ways (Liukkonen). He may not have had a good male role model, and he could have always wondered why and had other questions and become angry at the world. He could have always seen the bad side of things because he may have thought, since he had already had his father die, there was nothing left that could hurt him that much. He may have felt some of the guilt that the Puritans should have felt or the guilt that the people involved with the Salem witch trials should have felt. He may have felt that he needed to make up for. He also had a hard time getting his works published in the beginning of his career, which may have discouraged him and led him to work a lot harder on the rest of his works, making them quite a bit better (Liukkonen). Nathaniel Hawthorne endured many hardships in his life, and that helped shape his literary works.
Hawthorne wrote many different works on many different topics, but they all had a main theme of guilt and sin. He wanted to make up for the sins of his ancestors, so he often wrote about them in an attempt to expose their hypocrisy and their stupidity.
The Scarlet Letter
, his most popular work, was a novel set in the times of the Salem witch trials about a young girl who was forced to wear a red letter "A" on all of her clothing because of her affair with the town's minister and their illicit daughter (Merriman). She could have told the town that the minister was the father of her daughter, but she loved him so much, she would not betray him, and she lived a life of shame (Merriman). In
The House of Seven Gables
, which is a followup of
The Scarlet Letter
, there is a spooky old house that was supposedly haunted by a man that had been hanged for witchcraft a long time prior (Merriman). This follows in his themes of witchcraft, guilt, and human sins. In "My Low and Humble Home", Hawthorne speaks of wanting the glory of winning battles and being a war hero (Hawthorne, "My"). He must leave his home to do so, and he chases after this glory for a big part of his life, but he eventually realizes that the elusive glory will never go to him, so he returns to his home (Hawthorne, "My"). "My Low and Humble Home" compares to "Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe" in a number of ways, the biggest of which is the need for attention and glory. Dominicus and the narrator of "My Low and Humble Home" both need everyone to pay attention to them. They both chase after glory, but in different ways. The narrator wants glory through winning battles, while Dominicus wants glory through having the latest news and gossip. Nathaniel Hawthorne has many different themes interwoven throughout his writing, but a majority of them have to do with the faults of humans.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was a very good author of Dark Romanticism, and many people base their works off of his writing style. He wrote very descriptive stories that covered a broad variety of topics, but he chose to emphasize the negative side of human nature. He drew heavily off of his life experiences and the stories of his ancestors, and he tried to get rid of the hypocrisy so commonly evident in mankind. He wanted to expose people for who they really were, and he was not afraid to base a story off of one of man's worst characters. He wrote many incredibly interesting works, that are still as relevant and important now as they were when he wrote them.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe."
Free Classic Books Online at Classic Reader
. Web. 06 Dec. 2010. <
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "My Low and Humble Home."
Poetry Archive | Poems
. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. <
Liukkonen, Petri. "Nathaniel Hawthorne."
. Web. 08 Dec. 2010. <
Merriman, C. D. "Nathaniel Hawthorne - Biography and Works."
The Literature Network: Online Classic Literature, Poems, and Quotes. Essays & Summaries
. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. <
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