The Analysis of the Early American Writers: Irving, Poe and Hawthorne

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

In the 18th century when television was not invented, people used to read and talk to each other. When electronic devices were not advanced yet, reading is one of the common ways that people get pleasure. Back in the days, people used to read to gain news of what had occurred around the cities. In Hawthorne, Poe and, Irving works, three of the remarkable writers had made a huge impact in American literature that changed individual’s perspective. The three famous authors had distinctive style of writing that define their own literary works such as the used of figurative language, the theme and the tone.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was famous for writing romance novel and short story. He is best known of writing in prose style. Most of Hawthorne works uses symbolism to narrate the story. He was able to reveal the darkness, irony and reveal the truth in a gentle and substantial sharp style of writing (Gao). In The Scarlet Letter written by Hawthorne, he portrays a young women named Hester who married an old man named Roger Chillingworth. As the story progresses on Hester met a pastor named Arthur Dimmesdale. Eventually she fell in love with this pastor and gave birth to a daughter. During the Puritan era, adultery was considered a forbidden act. Therefore, she was accused of adultery and forced to wear a red word “A” in front of her chest. Hawthorne used symbolism to express the act of adultery. The red color represents physical energy, lust, passion, and desire (Bourn). In the Book of Revelations, red represent an unpleasant implication. For example, “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him (Rev. 12:9).” The verse depicts that a battle was going to happened that will bring forth the terror and violent. Once she committed adultery, Hester has to endure the shame for the rest of her life.

Edgar Allan Poe was part of the American Romantic Movement. He is famous for his Gothic writing style. Poe was best known for his writing of “The Raven”, which was a huge success and was reprinted in numerous publications in America and Europe. Poe’s works are a pervasive tone of melancholy, a longing for lost love and beauty, and a preoccupation with death, particularly the deaths of beautiful women (The Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe). In Poe’s writings, he often utilized ‘I’ as a first person point of view to narrate his story. Through Poe’s works, his writing style are based in the use of punctuation, word choice, tone, sentence structure and figurative language. He often utilizes commas, exclamation marks, semicolons and dashes are seen throughout his works. The word choice set the tone of his works. The used of figurative language are fill with details and description to create a vivid tales. By observing the title “The Raven”, it symbolized something dark and sinister. A raven is also an indication of death. In The Raven, the theme of this poem are losing hope, dealing with the love of his death wife, Lenore and how the raven is tormenting Poe into insanity. In his poem “The Raven,” Poe is devastated by the raven’s answer:

Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—

“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!

Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken

Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore. (96 –100)

In this specific line, the narrator is distressed over the loss of his wife. He is deeply mourned over his beloved wife and cannot accept the fact that his wife had passed away. When the raven came knocking at the door, the narrator vigorously calls out her name, and hope that it would be Lenore. It turns out that the narrator saw the raven and believes that it has come to torment him from hell. The narrator eventually asks the raven to leave him but the raven respond, “Nevermore,” which irritates the narrator. In these moment, the narrator is fully devastated by his own emotions and the mental game. The speaker will accept his faith and come to term that he will never be alone and the raven will come and haunt him for the rest of his life. This stanza illustrate the speaker will never be happy without his wife and the raven is associated with his overwhelming depth of his grief and his loneliness.

Washing Irving, America’s successful professional man of letters, was an essayist, humorist, historian, literary critic, antiquarian scholar, magazine journalist, and short-story writer (Baron). The Sketch Book became his most important work while living in London. The book consists of seven sketches, ranging from fictional prose to nonfiction criticism (The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon). Of the seven sketches, two collections are popular in America: Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Both of these sketches are shows in paintings, comic books, plays, films and newspaper. Irving regularly addressed darker and more complex themes of historical transformation and personal dislocation (Levine). Irving’s writing often uses figurative language to narrate his story. Metaphor and simile are utilized when Irving wrote his story. In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Irving uses metaphor to described Brom Bones, “certain it is, his advances were signals for rival candidates to retire; insomuch that, when his horse was seen tied to Van Tassel’s paling on a Sunday night, all other suitors passed by in despair”. In Rip Van Winkle, Irving is describing scenery of the Kaatskill Mountains, “the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory”. He utilizes simile to compare the sun and the mountain. The line also had a comical tone.

Three of the great American writers implement the use of figurative language, the theme, and the tone to produce an outstanding poems and fictional story that changed a person’s view on American literature. Nathaniel Hawthorne utilized symbolism to narrate his story. Edgar Allan Poe implement “I” as a point of view in his works. Washington Irving incorporate the use of figurative language in his works. All three writers use difference techniques to create a fine pieces of works that made them famous throughout the course of history.


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