“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” Nathaniel Hawthorne Hawthorne as a Late Romantic Writer • Hawthorne is not the typical Romantic writer • In fact, some argue that his writing marks the beginning of a turn from Romanticism • Rather than examining human possibilities, Hawthorn examined human limitations • Hawthorne (like all the Romanticists) focused on the supernatural mysteries and on individuality • The mysteries of the human heart and the questions of human evil are the main subjects of Hawthorne’s work “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” as an Allegory • Allegory: An allegory is a work of literature in which characters or objects stand for certain abstract qualities, such as Hope, or Faith. • In allegories, characters are representations of abstract human characteristics What could the following characters allegorically represent? Mr. Medbourne? (greed) Mr. Gascoigne? (ambition) Colonel Killigrew? (gluttony) Widow Wycherly? (lust) • Using these allegorical figures, what does Hawthorne propose about the limitations of human beings at the end of the story? • In other words, how would you define the theme of this story? Theme: • (The universal message or underlying idea in a literary work) • In Hawthorne’s short story “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”, he uses allegorical representations of human traits in order to convey the theme that wisdom and judgment do not necessarily come with old age. • When we begin to read Hawthorne’s next short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil” (page 256) ask yourself the following questions when reading: • How is “The Minister’s Black Veil” an example of Romantic Literature? • How is this story similar to an allegory? How is it different? • Also, watch out for symbolism!