Charlotte Temple

The Haunting of Charlotte Temple College

In Susanna Rowson’s novel Charlotte Temple, the main character dies; this spoiler is given immediately at the beginning of the book, leaving no question as to whether Charlotte Temple will thrive on to live a happy life. With a (rather horrific) death undoubtedly present in the story, the potential arises for post-life encounters...especially ones with ghosts. Who is the one conveying the tragic events that led up to Charlotte’s death? With a story ridden with details, emotion, tone, and insight, we readers may logically believe that the mysterious narrator is none other than Charlotte Temple’s ghost. The ghost of Charlotte cannot rest peacefully in the afterlife because its mortal life was cheated away through foolish mistakes. Therefore, the only way to cope with the entrapment in this realm is to ensure that other mortals do not endure the tragedy that came upon Charlotte Temple.

On numerous occasions throughout the novel, the narrator seamlessly addresses the reader directly. Narration goes from the story, to the back story, to the reader, to the story again, creating an elaborate and conversational recollection of events: “Now, my dear sober matron...” (Rowson, 28), “Oh my dear girls...” (29), “Look, my dear friends...”...

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