American Literature Perverse Preoccupation With Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper : its original atoms" -- that is, humanity shall return to its most natural state, a condition wherein human mind and behavior has no limits, wherein death and insanity is preferred over life and sanity. This kind of preoccupation about the humanity's natural return to do and be evil is reflected in Melville's essay, wherein he contends, "...this black conceit pervades him (Hawthorne)...You may be witched by his sunlight...but there is the blackness of darkness beyond..." That is, beyond the laws of morality lurks behind the evilness of human nature.

Melville subscribes to Hawthorne's implicit portrayal and depiction of humanity's natural and evil nature in his novel, "Moby Dick." Through the character of Ahab, readers witness that his preoccupation to capture Moby Dick is actually his desire to divest himself of his own evil thoughts and feelings. This is illustrated in Chapter 132, wherein Ahab himself questions his real motives for his desire and need to capture the great whale: "...what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me...Is Ahab, Ahab?" similar portrayal of the "hidden evil" is the character of Montresor in Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado." Beyond the cultured and calm manner of Montresor, giving the observer the image of a moral person in him, a madman resides within, a man who is vengeful and intolerant of insults that he plotted to murder Fortunato, the 'unfortunate' individual who have "injured" Montresor. The protagonist's mask is his wealth and personality, and what this mask hides is his insanity and being a murderer.

Lastly, human evil and darkness of life is explicitly shown in two Dickinson poems, "I felt a funeral, in my brain" and "My life had stood -- a loaded gun-." Both poems illustrate the poet's preoccupation about death, an evil that is demonstrated as both desirable and undesirable. Death is undesirable because of the limit that it puts to human life; however, it is, at the same time, desirable because it puts an end to sorrow and suffering, as expressed in "My life stood": "And then a Plank in reason, broke,...And Finished knowing..." In Dickinson's case, death assumes an insignificant role to an individual's life, in the same way that death (and insanity, in Poe's case) is preferred over a meaningful life by the protagonists of the Works Cited by Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe.


Hawthorne, N. E-text of "The House of the Seven Gables." Available at

Melville, H. (1851). E-text of "Moby Dick." Available at

Poe, E.A. E-text of "The Cask of Amontillado." Available at

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