By Lee A. Zito
1.Puritan heritage influenced Hawthorne greatly. It was so much apart of his upbringing and family life that there was no way he could escape it. Interestingly enough, his father was a judge who proceeded over the Salem Witch Trials. The ideas of Puritanism were forced on to Hawthorne. He felt suffocated and imprisoned by the strict religious life. His writing is an outlet for his feelings and emotions of the Puritan ideas presented to him throughout his life.
Rappaccini's experiment consisted of poisonous plants to which his daughter became infected by making her breath poisonous to all living creatures. Rappaccini did this experiment in hopes to find some medical gain.
The Pequod was a tribe of Indians that were completely destroyed by the Puritans. At times the Pequod can be described as a microcosm of American society because this one occurrence can be a metaphor for the way Americans think and feel.
Anything American society does not like, they unite to get rid of the problem, another words they kill what they dislike. This works literally and metaphorically speaking.
2.Gothic literature is a result of the times that were happening during 1764 to 1840. Society was producing a literary form that surrounded the outsider. Gothic literature that is contemporaneous differs tremendously from that of its popular era. I feel it tries too hard, where as Gothic literature of its original time came naturally to the people it was popular.
Some nineteenth century social conditions that contributed to the social outlook on gothic literature were very prudish and strict behavior.
Industry was beginning to thrive and the cities were building more and more. The class formations were starting to form relations. There was this sense of a growing self-awareness during that time.