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A Threefold Landsacpe: Place and Space in Hawthorne’s the Marble Faun

Author LuXu
Tutor YuWeiShen
School Chongqing University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Neutral Territory The Marble Faun Place and Space narrative Rome
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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The Marble Faun is Hawthorne’s last and the least known Romance, for a time it was considered less important than Hawthorne’s major works by some critics. However, in recent years, its reputation has apparently increased, and has drawn much academic attention; many interpetations have been proposed by modern critics and scholars, from new perspectives such as Feminism and Bakhtin theory..One significant concept of Hawthorne’s Romance writing is the Neutral Territory, a notion he put forward in the preface to The Scarlet Letter, and developed in his following prefaces. By introducing the idea of a Neutral Territory, a place where the imagination and the reality conjoin, Hawthorne marked the difference between novel and Romance, for he maintained that novel is realistic, but Romance is figurative and psychological.This theis will, drawing on modern narrative theory and cultural geography, discuss how Neutral Territory functioned as a narrative device in The Marble Faun. First, in Chapter Two, based on a theoretic examination, the concept of Neutral Territory will be explained as to how it has guided Hawthrone’s Romance writing; moreover, this chapter will argue that Neutral Territory was not only a metaphor, but a functional device, consisting of special places and space which has enabled the free creation and imagination of Romance. Then, in Chapter Three, through a detailed analysis of the text, this essay illustrates that the places in The Marble Faun were attached with cultural and historical meanings, these places have composed a three-fold landscape, respectively resembling Sin, Nature and Religion; this construction stand perfectly in accordance with the development of the plot and characters, and have supported the theme of Fall and redemption through the narrative. Chapter Four draws out the general structure of the places in The Marble Faun, and accounted of the characters’attachment to places; as a supplement to Chapter Three, this chapter further studies how these places are carefully arranged under groups, and how characters of different identities have chose and bonded with certain places. In Chapter Five, the conclusion is achieved that The Marble Faun has exemplified Hawthorne’s notion of Neutral Territory, it is a intricatedly fabricated Romance composed of, tied to, and buttressed by place and space.

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