In this research paper, we are going to deal with the short story 'Rappaccini's Daughter'. It is the work of the American romantic writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. Our topic is built around symbolism. In fact, after a first reading of the short story, we have noticed a list of symbols that made us wonder about their implied meaning. In other words, we, as readers, felt guided by the author's words to seek the hidden or deep signification of these symbols. .
'Rappaccini's Daughter' is a romantic work with romantic characteristics. It is also one of Hawthorne's greatest achievements. That is why we are going to try to relate the symbols to the Romantic movement. We will, as well, try to link them to the author's life. In other words, we are going to link symbols to romanticism and to Hawthorne's biography. The following question gave birth to our research: How does Nathaniel Hawthorne's use of symbols reflect romanticism and his life? .
Our research paper is composed of two chapters. In the first chapter, we have adopted a textual approach, by analyzing symbols in the text, and a contextual approach, by relating these symbols to the Romantic movement. Concerning the literary theory, we have opted for Northrop Frye's theory on symbols. It stipulates that "Whenever we read anything, we find our attention moving in two directions at once. One direction is outward or centrifugal (). The other direction is inward or centripetal (.). In both cases we deal with symbols, but when we attach an external meaning to a word we have, in addition to the verbal symbol, the thing represented or symbolized by it." 1 Based on his words, we have understood that symbols not only have meaning in the text, but also outside it. Thus, we are going to relate them to the text and to Hawthorne's life. .
In the second chapter, we have selected an author-oriented approach, referring to the author's biography.