Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Short Stories

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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In many of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories, he develops his characters to have either a spiteful or evil attribute for more of a symbolic meaning to the story. Many people can interpret that Hawthorne uses evil in his stories. In the story “” Rapaccinni’s Daughter”, he uses his daughter Beatrice, as his scientific project that turns her into poison which causes her to stay trapped inside without leaving the house. In “” Young Goodman Brown”” the character Faith is a women who is lost to the Devil.

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The men in the both stories have their own flaws which contribute to the flaws of the women in the story.

In “Young Goodman Brown” Faith is a character who submits her faith to the Devil. She does not contain enough self control to refuse the Devil, and soon loses her faith. Her character is a good example of how Hawthorne uses her to represent the hypocrisy of the Puritan people. The author makes us think that Puritans are not as pure as we think, they also contain evil characteristics. In Young Goodman Brown, Hawthorne symbolizes pink ribbons. These ribbons indicate that Faith may not be as innocent as we first thought.

In “”Rapaccinni’s Daughter””, Hawthorne creates the character of Beatrice to be poisonous. Meaning whoever touches her would die. Giovanni was in love with Beatrice and was willing to do anything to be with her, not knowing that she was poisonous. The act of her father is what resulted Giovanni to contain the poison, leaving him to be stuck in the garden with Beatrice forever. In this case, her own father is the one with the evil flaw, because he wanted his daughter to stay in the garden forever. As indicated in Young Goodman Brown, the pink ribbons symbolized something. They symbolized innocence and evil. In Rappaccini’s Daughter, the purple plant is also a symbolism. The purple plant which is poisonous, is the only thing that keeps her alive.

In both short stories, Hawthorne uses both women and men to initiate his meaning to the readers. What the two short stories have in common is that he possesses women with explicit evil flaws. Not only do the women contribute evil flaws, but the author creates men with inner flaws in both stories, which in some cases creates the flaws of the women resulting in a tragic ending.

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's Short Stories. (2019, Nov 17). Retrieved from