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Some fictions of the American Renaissance explored a broad range of subjects, styles, and settings that included the Gothic, romance, sea tales, and horror stories, historical fictions of the colonial era, and tales that touched the progressive social problems. The literature scenes at the time were dominated by a group of New England artists (Whalan, 2006).
Comparison of the Poetry of Whitman and Dickinson
Walt Whitman’s and Emily Dickinson’s works have a number of differences. When comparing them, we can notice that Dickinson wrote short and appealingly simple poems while those of Whitman were long and more complex. However, both writers focussed on almost similar themes. Their strongest connecting theme is death which is shared in all their literal works. For instance, Whitman uses the physical principle of thermal dynamics to make an assertion that there is life after death. Dickinson’s approach to death is more complex and paradoxical as she personifies death seeing God as the compelling lover. She tries to explain what happens at the boundary of death. The other theme that finds the two authors share their thoughts is religion. They struggle to explain how this theme connects with the theme of death (Richards, 2008).
In terms of style, Whitman expresses his ideas in the form of songs and echoes from the Bible. He shows the wicked people in the society with the rich man in the Bible and compares himself with Jesus who came to save his people from servitude. As Jesus, he never segregated anyone; he invited the wicked and the righteous. Perhaps due to Puritans pressure, Whitman failed to address bigger issues in religion as this would have polarised his relationship with the readers.
Contrasting the two poets, Whitman engages free verses to compose his essays. On the other hand, Dickinson decided to compose her essays with regular rhymes and complex slants. This is because Dickinson’s life was quite exiting as she travelled a lot and familiarised herself with the lives of people in Renaissance period. Both poets note the importance of individualism in the society and revealed that nature was an important connector to God (Loeffelholz, 2009). They both believed that life continued and that death was just a channel to take them to a better place.
In my opinion, both poets were quite innovative inspiring people to write about what they never had written before. It is very crucial to note that the two poets shaped the American way of writing and broke away from the British tradition; this marked the Renaissance period in literature.
Hawthorne uses irony in "Young Goodman Brown" to illustrate how the Puritans’ faith had squeezed the happiness and life out of their adherents. While the Puritan followers felt that they were more pious, the rich used the name “faith” to convey the Brown salvation. A common setting of his work addresses the Puritans’ belief that all humans exist in a depravity state except for those born in grace. He expresses the hypocrisy in his literature in a symbolic manner where his journey to self-scrutiny resulted in his loss of faith and virtues.
However, the basic source of Puritan ideals is that each person should read and understand God’s message for himself. According to Baym (2008), prior to printing the Bible, the monks used to read and interpret it to their followers. This is the reason why the Puritans founded various schools for their children that made reading the Bible the highest priority in addition to stewardship and stern discipline to their adherent communities.