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Death,Darkness,andMisunderstanding

Creepysymbols,vividimagery,strongfiguresofspeech,anddarktonesandthemesare
verycommonkeyfeaturesofdarkromanticliterature.EdgarAllanPoeandNathaniel
Hawthornearemastersoftakingthesekeydarkromanticideasandtechniquesandproducing
interestingandappallingyetreflectivepiecesofliterature.Thedarksymbols,imagery,figuresof
speech,andtonesandthemesin"TheMasqueoftheRedDeath,""AnnabelLee,"and"The
Minister'sBlackVeil,"conveythedarkromanticideaofsocietynotunderstandingdeath.
IntheTheMasqueoftheRedDeath,EdgarAllanPoeusesmanysymbolstorepresent
theinevitableappearanceofdeathandtheendoftime.AndDarknessandDecayandtheRed
Deathheldillimitabledominionoverall(10).Poedemonstratesthewidespreaddominanceof
death.Dominionoverallisveryspecificininsinuatingthatnothingisexemptfromdying.The
RedDeathisanextremelypersonifiedversionofdeath.Ithelpssupporttheideaofcreepy
symbolsindarkromanticliteraturebycreatingacharacterthatstoodsolelyfordeath.Everything
hasabeginningandanending,andPoeusesdarkness,decay,andtheRedDeathtosymbolize
deathanditseventualvictory.Imageryisanothertooldarkromanticwritersusedtoconvey
societysmisunderstandingofdeath.
Darkromanticliteraturecontainslotsofvividimages.HawthorneandPoemanageto
incorporatevividimagesintotheirwritingsagainandagain.InTheMinistersBlackVeil,
Hawthornewrites,Theblackveil,thoughitcoversonlyourpastorsface,throwsitinfluence
overhiswholeperson,andmakeshimghostlikefromheadtofoot(Hawthorne3).Thisveil

createsalargeseparationbetweentheministerandhispeople.Theveilscreatedastrong
atmosphericandvisualdividebetweentheMinisterandthepeople.Theobviousvisualdivideis
theblackveil,butthewayinwhichtheblackveilmadetheministerseemalmostfrighteningis
whatHawthornereallywantedthereadertonotice.Thepeopleoverexaggeratedthesituation
tremendously,butitiseasytoseehowtheyfeltasiftheminister'swholedemeanorchangeswith
theintroductionoftheveil.Theseandothervividimagesprovethatimageryisakeytoolusedto
createacreepyandspecificconnotationwithinthereaderindarkromanticliterature.Another
oneofthekeywritingdevicesthatdarkromanticwritersuseisfiguresofspeech.
InAnnabelLee,Poerepeatstheline,Inthiskingdombythesea(8).Thisshowsthe
importanceofthissingularlineinthepoem.Thesearepresentsthevastnessoftheirlove,the
neverendingdepthofhisaffectionforher,andmaybeeventhethoughtthathersoulwillforever
befreebythesea.Therepetitionofthislinedrawssignificancetoitandforcesthereaderto
focusonthatspecificline.Anotherexampleofstrongfiguresofspeechinthispieceishis
outstandingjobofportrayingtothereaderthenarratorsdeeploveforAnnabelLee.And
neithertheangelsinHeavenabove/Northedemonsdownunderthesea/Caneverdissevermy
soulfromthesoul/OfthebeautifulAnnabelLee"(3033).HerePoeshowstheimmenselovethat
thenarratorpossessesforAnnabelLee.Heusesexaggerationandstrongdictionandwordchoice
toprovehisloveandconnectiontoAnnabelLee.Healsouseskeenwordplay.Itisalsoveryodd
toPoeportrayingthisimmenseamountofloveinapoem,especiallywithhisusualdarkwriting
style.Darkromanticliteraturerarelycontainselementsofloveandaffectioncausingthereader
toquestionwhatPoewastryingtogetacross.Societysmisunderstandingofdeathusingfigures

ofspeech.Thefinal,andprobablymostimportantpieceofdarkromanticliteratureisthehorrific
themes.
Theideaoftimeandtheinevitabilityoftheendoftimeisoneofthemanyhorrific
themesfoundindarkromanticism.Agiganticclockofebony.Itspendulumswungtoandfro
withadull,heavy,monotonousclang.(Poe1,5).TheclockintheTheMasqueoftheRed
Death,showshoweventhoughthepeoplewereisolatingthemselvesfromtheothersand
ignoringthetimeandinevitabilityoftheendoftime,itwasstillalwaysverypresent.Another
commondarkromanticthemeisvisibleinTheMinistersBlackVeil.Intheshortstory,
Hawthorneusesasimpleblackveiltoexposethetruthaboutsociety.InthismannerMr.
Hopperspentalonglife,irreproachableinoutwardact,yetshroudedindismalsuspicions
(Hawthorne8).Itgoestoshowthatpeoplewillexaggeratethesmallestthings.Theminister
woretheveiltoshowhissinsandthesinsofthepeople.Itwasanextremelyblatantgesturethat
thepeopledidnotwanttoaccept.Therefore,theymadeamockeryofhim.Childrenwouldwear
fakeveilsandromparoundasisiftheyweretheminister,theadultswouldavoidhimandgossip
abouttheministerwhenhisbackwasturned.Itseemsasiftheirhatredanddisdainforthe
ministerwasinherent.Itjustgoestoshowthatpeoplearetoldbysocietytoconform,andwhen
theministerdidnot,hewasanoutcast.Societysmisunderstandingofdeathusingtonesand
themes.Thisisaperfectexampleofoneofthemanycruelaspectsofsociety.
IntheMasqueoftheRedDeath,AnnabelLee,andTheMinistersBlackVeil,the
readerisshownmanyinstancesinwhichPoeandHawthorneusesymbols,images,figuresof
speech,tones,andthemestoimplythatthecharactersintheirpoemsandstoriesareavoiding

something.Symbolssuchasclocks,thealmostlifelikepresenceoftime,andtheRedDeathshow
thatthecharactersareattemptingtoignoresomethingthatissimplyimpossibletoignorable,
death.TheMinistersVeilinTheMinistersBlackVeil,isusedtocreateabarrierbetweenthe
ministerandhispeople.Themainpointofthisstoryistoshowthatpeopleridiculewhattheydo
notunderstand.Theministerchoosestofacedeathandsin,andwhenthepeopleseehimdoing
this,theyoutcasthim.EdgarAllenPoeusesstrongdiction,wordchoice,andfiguresofspeechto
conveythatthenarratordoesnotunderstandwhyhisbelovedwastakenfromhim.Thenarrator
isliterallyquestioningdeath.Theinevitabilityofdeathisacommondarkromantictheme.The
inevitabilityissomethingthatthecharactersinTheMasqueoftheReadDeath,Annabel
Lee,andTheMinistersBlackVeil,seemtoignore.Therefore,itshowstheirinabilityto
understandthatdeathcomestoall.
Thedarksymbols,imagery,figuresofspeech,andtonesandthemesin"TheMasqueof
theRedDeath,""AnnabelLee,"and"TheMinister'sBlackVeil,"conveythedarkromanticidea
ofsocietynotunderstandingdeath.Creepysymbols,strongimageryandfiguresofspeech,and
darkthemesandtonesareverycommon.PoeandHawthorneseemtobeabletopointoutthe
ironicdarkersidesoflifesuchasdeath,loss,andthecrueltyandignoranceofsociety.

WorksCited
Poe1:
Poe,EdgarAllan."TheMasqueoftheRedDeath."Ibiblio.org.N.p.,n.d.Web.
<http://www.ibiblio.org/ebooks/Poe/Red_Death.pdf>.
Poe2:
Poe,EdgarAllan."AnnabelLee."PoetryFoundation.PoetryFoundation,n.d.Web.05Oct.
2015.<http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174151>.
Hawthorne,Nathaniel."TheMinister'sBlackVeil."Eldritchpress.org.N.p.,n.d.Web.05Oct.
2015.<http://www.eldritchpress.org/nh/mbv.html>.