The Canterbury Pilgrims by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Romanticism period of American literature was a time when writers of all kinds came back to embracing their emotions. They left the cold logic of the Rationalism period behind. The short story, "The Canterbury Pilgrims" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is somewhat of an expose` of some of the aspects of the period. Hawthorne was a deeply complex man whose best work involved the aspect of ignoring the rules and going with your own individual intuition (Wright). This was the most important point of this story because you know you the best. The main characters of this work knew that they had to give their ideas and dream a shot before completely forgetting about them and writing them off. Romanticism is all about being one with yourself and not discounting things exactly like intuition (Langley). Romanticism is also about love and youthful innocence (Langley). To the Romantics there could be love without the innocence of youth, but not the true love that little girls dream about after watching "Cinderella." Romanticism was supposed to be inspiring for people (Langley).

The Dark Romantic aspects of this story are Hawthorne portrays the actual problems of society during that time period (Wright). Other Romantic writers were interested in focusing on the better, prettier side of life (Langley). They chose to ignore the darker side of life in their works. To them, the monster under the bed did not exist, but the Dark Romantics invited the monster to have tea with them to discuss their nature and thought processes so they could include them in their next work. The Dark Romanticism writers sought to explore human nature and all its less than desirable pursuits (Langley). They were basically the journalists of the spirit of the human being.

Throughout the story, Hawthorne has the characters giving unwanted advice to the young couple because they want to prevent them from failing at their dreams like they did (Ibiblio). This is also an aspect of human nature that is sometimes applauded but yet other times it only brings heartache (Wright). Miriam and Josiah decide to ignore the advice and make their own way (Books). After reading the story, the reader expects them to fail at their pursuits because the world is not a supportive place. If the world considers you expendable, then good luck having a good life, in which you can find happiness.

The characteristics of Miriam and Josiah are exemplary of those qualities that make teenagers the hated youth group. They tend to be rebellious, no matter how polite they are and they always think they know everything even after hearing true tales that prove exactly the opposite (Wright). They represent the writers of the Romanticism period because they were rebelling against the Rationalism period that had come before. Romanticism was all about the side of life that the Rationalists cut out of their life because it prevented logic (Langley). Emotion was useless to them, as were flowery words that are used to describe things. This sparked the new movement and got us to this point. Rationalists tended to critique everyone and everthing, but not to be spiteful and mean, but to be helpful and make these people and things better. The problem was that they had a really bad way of delivering those helpful tips. Romanticism was more concerned with what you wanted to do or be, even feel; not what society deemed was proper or correct (Langley). The writers and followers of Romanticism can basically be called the first American counter-culturists, or more commonly known as hippies. They were sick and tired of having to write dry, legal-like documents that no one found interesting. Adjectives are in the English language for a reason.

´╗┐Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "The Canterbury Pilgrims." Books & Literature Classics. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. <>.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "The Canterbury Pilgrims." Ibiblio - The Public's Library and Digital Archive. Web. 10 Dec. 2010.

Langley, John. "Introduction to Romanticism." Romanticism. Pleasant Plains High School, Pleasant Plains. 10 Dec. 2010. Lecture.

Wright, Sarah Bird. ""The Canterbury Pilgrims"" Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Web. 10 Dec. 2010.