Young Goodman Brown and Other Hawthorne Short Stories

Hawthorne's Conundrum 11th Grade

Much as his name suggests, Owen Warland wages a battle on society in The Artist of the Beautiful by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Throughout the story, he strives to create the Beautiful, a lifelike butterfly, and overcomes many setbacks to succeed briefly, only to have it destroyed in the story’s final paragraphs. Owen wishes to transcend the material world and rise to the spiritual through his creation of art- the Beautiful- and his abject rejection of the material world. However, the material world fights back and refuses to accept his search for spirituality; in the characters of Robert Danforth, Annie Hovenden, and Peter Hovenden, Hawthorne creates symbols of physical strength, love, and practicality that combat Owen’s dreams of reaching a higher spiritual existence. At the end of the story, the reader must answer an important question: whether Owen’s complete avoidance of anything material, even the good, in an attempt to create art is worth the loss of humanity and community. In The Artist of the Beautiful, Nathaniel Hawthorne writes the story of an artist’s struggle to transcend the material world in order to show his audience the overwhelming importance of the community.

With the creation of the Beautiful, Owen Warland spends...

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