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Hawthorne has been known to have a consistent concern with historical memories, justice and the understanding of them. In his works which deals with New England History, he asks us to recognize American experience in the past as a whole. When he requests us to reconsider the history, he employes Gothic strategies that usually talk about culturally and psychologically repressed materials to unsettle its readers. He seems to suggest that redemption of America must come from confronting the past as it is, by escaping false and partial vision of past. My study is to examine the theme of establishing national identity of America with the initiation of two young men in "My Kinsman Major Molineux" and "Young Goodman Brown." The protagonists of these short stories began their journey at night to encounter a turning-point experience which finally ends in failure to find out their purposes. In the end of the stories, the protagonists are left deeply confused with everything and all forms of faiths. Hawthorne presents their scarry and haunting experiences at one night with Gothic strategies to force us to grasp the evasive meaning of it. With the failure of the initiating journey of the protagonists in the stories, Hawthorne indirectly suggests his apprehensive concern that the experiments of America in establishing national identity would not be successful.
This article is to examine the influence of Calvinistic Puritanism on Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome and Summer. These two closely related novels are about "the same class and type" of the people in a small New England village where Puritanism had a powerful influence upon every aspect of the society. Wharton found herself wrestling with Puritanism when she began an adulterous affair with Morton Fullerton. This affair reactivated the 'moral tortures' of Puritanism that had obsessed her since her childhood. The unending bleakness of all three of the main characters' lives in Ethan Frome reflects Wharton's sense that she would never extricate herself from this romantic triangle. This novel conveys Wharton's experience of Puritanism as both a personal and cultural defeat.Wharton continued to explore alternatives to patriarchy and Calvinistic Puritanism throughout her life. Summer represents Wharton's search for non-Christian ideals - for guiltless personal freedom and a spiritual home to which one may return for good. It celebrates the unrestricted fullness of the season named in its title and describes the flowering of a woman's first romance. However, the fact that the novel ends with autumn's approach and is set in Puritan New England demonstrates that for Wharton the search for alternatives could be only partially fulfilled. With these two novels Wharton examined the repressive influence of Puritanism and her attempts to get over its oppressive effects. She was not completely successful in the attempt. She seemed to assert that we need not be immobilized by these obstacles as Frome, Zeena and Mattie are; however, we can never simply cast them aside and elect a life of absolute freedom and perfect satisfaction as Charity initially expected. Wharton's own unhappy marriage, the consequences of her affair with Fullerton and the deaths and grief during World War I had taught her these sober lessons of life.
In nineteenth-century America, science was welcomed eagerly as new powerful authority to replace religous authority, which was refused by the sceptic people toward the traditional and abstract order. Though Hawthorne is ambivalent and uneasy about the dominent influence of religion on American society, he is unable to regard science as a new good order as well as an almighty tool enabling man to achieve everything he wants. Unlike the most of people in his age, he surely forsees the dangers of science and of the scientists, whose power is much more practical and mightier than that of the traditional authorities. Through the sacrifices of the women, Hawthorne presents us the concrete, harmful effects resulted from the empirical scientists' mistaken concepts, in which scientists look upon themselves as a center in their own universe. All the men in "the Birthmark," "Rappaccini's Daughter," and "Ethan Brand," use and manipulate the women for their purpose to overcome the inherent human imperfection and weaknesses and to achieve the power of Creator, which is definitely beyond the limit of one of His creatures, a human being. As a marginal being in a patriarchal society, a woman is likely to be degraded in an object in men's exchange and into a subject in thier experiments. Hawthorne, however, does not make us see only the fearful sacrifice of woman by the man, but the terribel hollow, meaningless life of the man and the way of finishing his life, who wasted, absorbed woman's soul. Unlike the men who enjoy their priviliged position in the relationship between man and woman, unlike the men who disguise their scorn and disgust toward women with love, Hawthorne seems to feel guilty and responsible for the hurt on the women caused by men. By exploring the murdered women's fate by the intelligent remoseless scientists, he clearly demonstrates the dangers of empirical science and of the power of reckless scientists. At the same time, with the problems of the women manipulated, exploited and in the end, killed by men, Hawthome extends it to suggest us the crucial situation of all the human beings who are depraved into the object without free-will in a commercial society and who feel cut off from the center of existence and so frustrated miserably at thier doom