Edgar Allen Poe’s critique on Nathaniel Hawthorne was both satisfactory and held him in high regard, praising his literary talent and even comparing his writings to art. Although I agree with Edgar Allen Poe that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writings are unique and beautifully written, I disagree with his his claim that Hawthorne’s incorporated , “ invention, creation, imagination, and originality.”
I believe that Hawthorne’s writings all surround the idea of a bland, very mundane society ; and considerably evil due to human nature. He wrote in Young Goodman Brown, “ There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil! For to thee is this world given.” ( Hawthorne, 392). From this sentence, I concluded that Hawthorne is the opposite of what Poe said, he isn’t creative or necessarily original; I believe he portrays the characteristics and flaws we have as humans, and reflects them in small stories that are easy to understand. Hawthorne seems to understand human nature very well, and he attracts his readers by telling them about themes and key ideas that are relatable and relevant to the situations that they find themselves in. For example, Young Goodman Brown and The Scarlet Letter both describe the rigid and boring Puritan society, such as witchcraft, and their fear of diversity, and selfishness. “ Council-board of the province, and others which, Sabbath after Sabbath, looked devoutly heavenward, and benignantly over the crowded pews from there.” ( Hawthorne, 393). This excerpt also helps prove that Hawthorne seems to stray from creativeness and originality, and tries to write about ordinary, common, everyday scenes in life, combined with common, ordinary, mistakes in everyday lives.
We can’t disregard the fact that Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts in the early 19th century, and he was impacted by the history and culture of New England. The Salem Witch Trials, and the Puritan community have a grand impact on his tales, and that is to say that he wrote appropriately for the people of his time, and justly represent the people of the past. Therefore, imagination wouldn’t have been the way to reciprocate facts, that the Salem Witch trials brought mistrust and accusation of neighbors, that families and lives were torn and changed due to fear of an evil, greater presence. The concluding factor is that, when rewriting history tales for readers, creativity and originality is difficult when tales are passed down and mingled with religion and societal impact. Regardless, it is without doubt that Hawthorne’s writings are captivating to readers, and expertly portray 17th century Puritan culture and structure.