Commentary in Fiction

Herman Melville produced and published his short stories and novels between 1846 and 1857; this was a period when hopes equality and liberty were aroused by the American Revolution. It was also a time when the American Revolutions inspired other revolutions around the world. While imperialism, industrial capitalism, and slavery were surging during and after the Mexican War, the European revolutions were being crushed. As a result, the most important issues covered in Melville works were capitalism, imperialism, and slavery. Melville’s works centered on the exploited and the oppressed, the victims of the British, American, and European society.

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In Young Goodman Brown, Hawthorne probes the Puritan Salem witchcraft trials, an incident that led to the killing of innocent people who were accused of practicing witchcraft. The story depicts how the Puritan society was involved in witch-hunts, accusations that were based on jealousy, revenge, and other reasons that were not related to witchcraft. The works of Melville and Hawthorne relate well with the works of Franklin, Irving, and Edwards, in that they have a similar tone.

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