Links Hawthorne's use of the supernatural to "Rappaccini's Daughter", "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", and "The House of Seven Gables"

Essay by eskucHigh School, 11th grade April 2004

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Ghosts, witches, the unexplained, and the unknown, all supernatural things that can scare people, surprise people, or just make them think. Hawthorne used the supernatural in his work to add excitement, suspense, and fright. In "Rappaccini's Daughter", "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", and "The House of Seven Gables" one can find many examples of this.

In "Rappaccini's Daughter." Rappaccini is a scientist whose wife cheated on him, and he was hurt very much, so much that he made his daughter so that no living creature could touch her or it would die instantly. He created a plant that had these effects, and made his daughter like it. He has to kill animals with the poisonous plant, and then inject its blood into her. He thought that making his daughter like this would keep any man from hurting her, because he would not be able to touch her.

Then Rappaccini's daughter met Giovanni, who started to like her more and more each time they talked. He was not allowed in the garden where she was, but one night he got a key from a housekeeper and went in to see Rappaccini's daughter. They were in love, but he could not touch her or he would die, she explained. When Giovanni understood, he became mad and went to Rappaccini for an explanation. Giovanni told Rappaccini how he had ruined his dream by keeping him from his daughter, and said he would do anything for her. Rappaccini put something in Giovanni's drink to make him sleep, and then Rappaccini made Giovanni like his love. Giovanni felt doomed when he woke up in Rappaccini's lab, but Rappaccini had accomplished just what he wanted. They could only be with one another, for if they touched another person...