Analysis of Charles Brockden Three Gothic Novels

Charles Brockden Brown is sometimes referred to as "the father of the American novel," at least in popular culture. (1771-1810). By writing gothic romances, Brown broke a practice that had previously been dominated and adapted by two of the greatest American writers ever to have lived, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe. Brown made the best genre decision possible for his three novels, Weiland, Edgar Huntly, and Ormond, in order to effectively convey the intended message to society. The way Clara in Weiland depicts the crucial moments in her life intrigues me in some strange way. (Kilbane 7). In fact, Brown uses the fictional character of Clara to tell his story, the demise of his father when he was six years, case to what happened to Clara in the novel. The crisis, turmoil, and the inexplicable loss, as well as surprise recovery, are all points to the childhood of Brown (Kafer 83).

In his other gothic novel, the Ormond, there is a deep meaning to it when it is stripped of its gothic trappings. He tries to outline the American identity in the ongoing revolution (Smith 14). Similar, he attempts to explain the position of women, similarly to what he depicts in his other works in Alcuin (1798) and Walstein’s School of History (1799). In fact, in both Ormond and Weiland novels, Brown is interested in the human society as he puts in the (Prominski 1). However, in his last novel Arthur Mervyn, I cannot fail to wonder why he had to draw away from his usual supernatural and psychologically disturbing ways of novel writing to sentimental form. The hidden themes in Brown’s three novels can only be comprehended by those who seek the deeper meaning rather than the complexity of the language used in the novel.

Analysis of The Scarlet Letter

Right from the word go, Hawthorne’s novel leaves me thinking harder about what is up with the title especially when I compare the book content with it. I agree to the fact that Hawthorne is a good 9writer, but the tone he uses in the novel are way too much for a single novel. As the author of The Office of the Scarlet Letter (Bercovitoh 111), there is too much irony in the novel that it is easy to miss out on an important message. Hawthorne, by the use of the romantic irony, reflects and shares cultural presupposition with his critics. The plight of Hester Prynne in the novel being forced to wear a scarlet “A” for her check is nothing less of what happens in the contemporary society. I find it interesting how Hawthorne can link the seventeenth-century events to what we experience in the world at the moment. As Brillinant (1357) puts it, the punishment was and is still viewed as the only form of criminal punishment even in the contemporary society.

The theaters have often manipulated the novel consciously to depict Hester as a marginalized woman ready to murder her child. Carr and Parks, theatre-makers, overlap and combines complex processes to expose the slippery relationship that exists between affect and signification. The affect includes how efficient economies become, control and shape almost all aspects of life including gender and racial bodies as well as moving into space (Siobhán 43). One passage though that got me involved is how the author put it in chapter 18 that “the scarlet letter was her passport to places where other women dare not tread. Shame, despair, solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, - and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss” (Hawthorne 1850). Despite the humiliation, she kept holding it together. The novel is a great one, and that is why it still is of significant interest to many people.

Work cited

Bercovitch, Sacvan. The Office of the Scarlet Letter. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. Internet resource.

Brilliant, Jon A. “The Modern-Day Scarlet Letter: A Critical Analysis of Modern Probation Conditions.” Duke Law Journal, vol. 1989, no. 5, 1989, pp. 1357–1385. JSTOR,

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter-With Audio. Oxford University Press, 2014.

Kafer, Peter. Charles Brockden Brown's Revolution and the Birth of American Gothic. Philadelphia, Pa: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2004. Print.

Kilbane, John. "The Culpability Of Fiction: Readings And Reception Of Charles Brockden Brown." Epublications.Marquette.Edu, 2011,

O’Gorman, Siobhán. "Reorienting Scarlet Letters: Suzan-Lori Parks’ And Marina Carr’S Hester Plays." Journal Of Adaptation In Film & Performance, vol 8, no. 1, 2015, pp. 39-60. Intellect, doi:10.1386/jafp.8.1.39_1.

Prominski, Patrick. "Murder With A Penknife: Individual Identity Formation In Charles Brockden Brown ' Sormond". Scholarworks.Gvsu.Edu, 2011,

Smith, David. "The Gothic Temple: Epistemology and Revolution in Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland." Gothic Studies 18.2 (2016): 1-17.

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