“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”: a Glimpse Into Nathaniel Hawthorne’s View Essay Example
“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”: a Glimpse Into Nathaniel Hawthorne’s View Essay Example

“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”: a Glimpse Into Nathaniel Hawthorne’s View Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1191 words)
  • Published: November 7, 2017
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“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”: A Glimpse into Nathaniel Hawthorne’s View Being a classmate of with such greats which included future president Franklin Pierce and future poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow one could make the assumption that Nathaniel Hawthorne would be greatly successful as well. A great writer too many, Nathaniel Hawthorne has become one of America’s greatest writers.

Hawthorne was a Novelist and short story writer and a central figure in the American Renaissance. He was most known for taking a dark view on human nature, much like Edger Allan Poe (Kirjasto pa. ). These writing styles often went against the current styles of the time. In his short story “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” he touches upon this behavior.

In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”, he wrote about how humans often will live in their past


instead of putting it behind them and striving for the future. His often described Gothic romance style was thought to be influenced by personal events in his life. Nathaniel Hawthorne was born to the town of Salem, Massachusetts on July 4, 1804. He was the son of Elizabeth Clarke Manning and Nathaniel Hathorne, a Captain in the U.S. Navy who died early on in Nathaniel’s life; he was only four years old (Merriman pa. 6). Ancestors of Hawthorne such as his great grandfather were one of the first Puritans to settle in the New England area and participated in the Salem Witch Trials.

This was thought to cause him much guilt and also was thought to help theme for many of his stories like “The House of Seven Gables”. In 1821, Hawthorne began to attend Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine along with fellow poet Henry Wadsworth Longfello

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and future American President Franklin Pierce.In college he began to start writing more and even started publishing his work as well. Even after graduation in 1837, he kept producing work. July 9, 1842 Hawthorn married a painter named Sophia Peabody.

He had three daughters as a result of this, one of which was future author Julian Hawthorn. Later in life he would travel around Europe and he would write more and more about his travels (Nathaniel Hawthorne’s). “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” is a story about a curious doctor who conducts an experiment on four guests that come to his house.He does this in order to see human nature in the act and to see if it changes over time.

Dr. Heidegger and his guests were all well aged individuals, three of which were described as white-bearded, Mr. Medbourne, Colonel Killigrew and Mr. Gascoigne. His other guest was a withered old gentlewoman whose name was the Widow Wycherly.

All these elderly guests had the common trait that they had a good younger life that they all had lost over time. All of his guests were thought to be beside themselves because often times they were worried about present troubles or woeful recollections..Quickly after all Dr. Heidegger’s guests had arrived he invited them into his office, where the guests see many old relics of his time that many people tell many wonderful obscure stories about them. Such items included a mirror; full-length portrait of a young lady, old black leather bound magic book and a beautifully crafted cut-glass vase. Near the glass vase were four champagne glasses. Dr. Heidegger then proceeded to ask his guests if they would participate in a

small, harmless experiment, just them drinking the water in vase. The vase contained water from the Fountain of Youth.They quickly agree after seeing how the water went to work on an old browned rose that was set into the water and quickly became into bloom as a beautiful red rose again. The Doctor filled each champagne glass and the group drank them up, but with being so excited with the results they were wanting more without any patience to see the first glasses’ full effects. He filled them once again. After a while they all became young again and at the peak of their prime.

Soon after much celebrated renewing of their youth the group saw the rose slowly starting to wither and shrivel again.Just like rose they slowly started becoming themselves again. As this was happening the Doctor witnessed his guests growing sad again, but instead of facing their reality and accepting how they are, they resolved their want of being younger by moving to Florida where the fountain was so morning, noon and night they could drink from it. In Hawthorne’s “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”, he uses many different literary devises to portray his theme throughout this short story. His underlying message is how it is human nature to hold on to the past and not be happy or satisfied with our future.He is striving to pursue the point that the characters in this piece should accept themselves as older and wiser people and that they should have learned the lessons of experiencing their past life. This is shown by how each of his guests drank the water from The Fountain of Youth and then

judged themselves as younger and happier individuals. Seeing their noticeably younger looking selves experience made them want to go back in time and live their young lives rather than appreciate what they had now.After finding that the affects were only temporary they were able to accept themselves for who they were once again, their old withered, wrinkled, but experienced and wiser selves.

They couldn’t be happy or satisfied with how they were in the present or their future to come and they were stuck on how they looked in the past. So much so that they went to the Fountain so that they may always be able to drink and be their young selves. Symbolism was used to help portray the theme, the conflict between the past and the present. The book of magic is used to represent his past and holds memories of it as well.

It’s where he holds his past. The silver clasps on it help him control his temptation to open it. The book holds a flower he was going to wear at his wedding. Even with seeing these memories again he was able to resist from becoming young again.

He felt that he had such a hard time growing old the first time that he should begin to embrace his life for what it is now. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works tested and challenged the writing styles of his time with his darker view on human nature. This makes the reader learn a lesson through our true but shameful floes as humans.The dark, honest view allows for a dramatic effect. Only later on in life would he be recognized as one of the most influential

writers in the American Renaissance.

He uses human behavior to portray his strong themes throughout each piece. Writing each of his short stories, novels and so on with this style has allowed him to become such a unique and memorable writer.

Works Cited

  1. “Nathaniel Hawthorne. ” 10 July 2008 <http://www. online-literature.com/hawthorne/> “Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864). ”
  2. 10 July 2008 <http://www. kirjasto. sci.fi/hawthorn. htm>
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