Symbolism and American Literature Book Review by Quality Writers

Symbolism and American Literature
An analysis of the place of symbolism in American literature through an analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter", Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher".
# 101833 | 2,456 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Mar 03, 2008 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper looks at three stalwarts of American literature Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter", Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher". In particular, the paper examines how they all reveal symbolism employed in a heavy handed manner which requires much thought and effort on the part of the reader in order to grasp its full import. The paper attempts to show how on the surface, Hawthorne's letter "A", Melville's white whale, and Poe's house of gloom should all be simple to explicate because their existence as symbolic device is irrefutable. However, the craft that elaborates on them throughout each authors' story is complex and elaborate.

From the Paper:

"Melville is yet another American author whose use of symbolism, while not as subtle as Hawthorne; of whom he was a contemporary, was just as consistent in his own manner. In Melville's Moby Dick, the entire premise of the book is based on a symbol which literary theorists have contemplated for many years. Yet, it is useful to bypass the discussion of the white whale and move into to some less symbolically divisive territory. Melville utilizes the biblical Book of Jonah for its symbolism which then employs for his own unique symbolic device."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Applegate, Debby. "Roman a Clef." American Literary History 7.1 (1995): 151-160.
  • Boyd, Molly. ""The Fall of the House of Usher," Simms's Castle Dismal, and the Scarlet Letter: Literary Interconnections." Studies in the Novel 35.2 (2003): 231+.
  • Hawthorne, Nathanial. The Scarlet Letter. Modern Library, New York; 2000.
  • Kent, Charles Foster. The Sermons, Epistles and Apocalypses of Israel's Prophets: From the Beginning of the Assyrian Period to the End of the Maccabean Struggle. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1910.
  • Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick. Edison, NJ: Castle Books, 2004.

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