Gothic Romantic Literature

Gothic Romantic Literature

Romantic novels can have the imaginary, the supernatural, and the unbelievable, but it must also have events that do not swerve from what the human heart knows to be true. Seventeenth century Bostonians believed in devils, witches, and a vengeful and angry God. Romances can concern real settings but are not limited to the realms of reality. The fantastic can be added—but there must be a balance. Gothic novels feature supernatural events, gloomy atmospheres, castles, and the mysterious. Gothic novels often feature a villain, who is identifiable as the evil person by some sort of obvious deformity. In Gothic novels, nature is often used to set the atmosphere of the story, sometimes with seasons, and sometimes with darkness, light, shadows, and moonlight. Nathaniel Hawthorne merges these two literary traditions to create a novel that is both Romantic and Gothic. Hawthorne explored issues of moral and social responsibility in Puritan New England. He hated intolerance, hypocrisy, and any other sentiments that separated one from the rest of humanity. Hawthorne explored these issues in tales he called “allegories of the human heart”—stories that teach a moral principle. Puritanism was a movement that began in the Church of England in the 1500s. Puritans wanted to “purify” the church of practices they said had no basis in the Bible. In the 1600s, Puritans came to New England and founded a community based on biblical laws. They believed that God was all-powerful and all knowing. They also held that people were sinful by nature and deserved eternal punishment but that God had “elected” some to be saved. No one could be sure of salvation, but Puritans strove to lead a moral life as a sign they had been saved. This involved keeping a constant watch over oneself and others to fight the “natural” tendency to sin.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful