Poe and Hawthorne were two American writers who have defined literature as we know it today. They greatly elevated the standards for short fictional stories ("Poe Defines the ˜Well Made Tale' ), and were the first to speak to the human heart and to convey truths that withstand the test of time ("Hawthorne Introduces the Concept of Romance ). Poe placed the emphasis of story writing on a single effect that he wanted to leave with the reader, and developed his stories around that effect or final emotion ("Poe Defines ). Hawthorne, on the other hand, placed importance on the actual representation of the author's imagination and conception of the world around himself ("Hawthorne Introduces ). These innovative thoughts and experimentations in language have forever changed what we appreciate in writing. Poe and Hawthorne were vital in the development of American literature today because of their inventive uses of symbolism, theme, language, characterization, and setting to embody the main purposes in their short stories, but we see distinctive differences in the way these are used to set the completely different moods required for romance writing and gothic writing.
The most predominate feature Poe and Hawthorne consistently develop in their writing is the use of symbolism. In Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death , symbolism in both light and dark forms was represented. From the light patterns of the fires illuminating the rooms and the flames lively dancing across the walls, to the dark clock held within the black room that was ticking away the time the revelers had left to live, Poe strongly contrasts life (light) and death (dark) ("The Masque of the Red Death ). Hawthorne also uses light and dark imagery in his short story, "The Minister's Black Veil . The main dark symbol comes in the form of the black veil that Mr. Hooper wears to represent some form of sin. The comparative light symbolism comes in less obv