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  1.  Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville



    Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville are by common consent regarded as the first major American novelists. Describe and then assess (= evaluate the aesthetic and philosophical quality of) the interplay of realism and fantasy in some of their works. 



Subject Literature Pages 3 Style APA


Realism and Fantasy in Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville works

            Realistic novels tend not to describe normality alone, but also feature a normal kind of fictitious descriptions. Fantasy, on the other hand, often deals with supernatural ideas and descriptions. In the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville the interplay between realism and fantasy is noticeable to a great extent.

            The story of “The House of Seven Gables” features elements of realism and fantasy. For instance, in the final scene, Uncle Venner hears music which is presumed to be Alice Pyncheon giving her farewell hint to the joy of a spirit as she floated in the sky (Hawthorne, 1851). Clearly, this is not a realistic description of how human beings die. However, the story features realistic descriptions of events such as the wrongful accusation of land, and even individuals getting prison sentences. The story also describes some characters who have died from curses, which is a form of fantasy (Hawthorne, 1851). On the other hand, there is also the description of individuals who die from congenital diseases. Therefore, there is the interplay between realism and fantasy in the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

            An example of fantasy and realism can also be witnessed in “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville. The narrative describes the quest of Ahab for revenge on a giant white sperm whale that bit off his leg (Melville, 1851). The story is a fantasy since there is no captain in reality who will abandon all tasks just to go in search of a whale for revenge. However, the setting is realistic since most ship will have the captain and his crew members. Also, accidents are quite common when dealing with sea creatures.

            In conclusion, both authors have made use of fantasy and realism in their works to make the content exciting and appealing to the audience. There is an interplay between these two ideas in the works, which is what makes the stories interesting. Without their consideration, the stories would be boring and meaningless.


Melville, H. (1851). Moby Dick: The Whale. Harper & Brothers.

Hawthorne, N. (1851). The House of the Seven Gables: A Romance. Ticknor and Fields.



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