Nathaniel Hawthorne | Dr Heidegger's Experiment

Dr. Heidegger's Experiment is a brief story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in the 19th century. Dr. Heidegger's Test is about a health care provider who claims to possess normal water from the elixir of youth. Then he invites his friends over and conducts an test on them. He uses this inflatable water from the elixir of youth and makes them young again, but they break the vase keeping water and it wears off. Nathaniel Hawthorne can be an American novelist and copy writer. He is known for his allegorical stories and excellent utilization of literary devices. In Dr. Heidegger's Experiment, Hawthorne uses symbolism, allegory and characterization to describe how people don't learn from their faults.

Hawthorne uses the characterization of Dr. Heidegger to spell it out how people don't study from their mistakes. Right before Dr. Heidegger allows his friends drink this inflatable water from the elixir of youth he says, "'Before you drink, my respectable old friends, ' said he, 'it would be well that, with the knowledge of an eternity to lead you, you should draw up a few general guidelines for your information, in passing another time through the perils of young ones. Think just what a sin and shame it might be, if, with your peculiar advantages, you should not become habits of virtue and knowledge to all or any the teenagers of the age!'" (Holt 231). Dr. Heidegger is characterized as uninterested in the how growing young again happens, or the way the drinking water from the fountain works. It is also revealed that Dr. Heidegger pays, and is also seeking answers about people's behavior and the folly of man. Dr. Heidegger gets the intention of testing whether if given the opportunity, will people change their ways and study from their mistakes. After the vase holding the water from the fountain breaks, Dr. Heidegger says, "Yes, friends, ye are old again, " said Dr. Heidegger, "and lo! water of Youth is all lavished on the floor. Well--I bemoan it not; for if the fountain gushed at my very doorstep, I'd not stoop to bathe my mouth in it--no, though its delirium were for a long time instead of occasions. Such is the lesson ye have taught me!'" (235). It is disclosed that Dr. Heidegger is curious about whether one will study from his/her blunders of the past. Dr. Heidegger's experiment's hypothesis that individuals don't learn from their faults was shown to be accurate. "For my very own part, having acquired much trouble in ageing, I'm in no be quick to develop young again" (231). Dr. Heidegger is characterized as one who values time and experience which he recognizes gives him knowledge. He remembers the mistakes he manufactured in the past and learns from it.

Hawthorne had written Dr. Heidegger's Test as allegory, where in fact the four friends taking part in the experiment stand for mistakes and flaws which they don't change, to describe how people don't learn from their problems. As Hawthorne presents the characters at the beginning of the brief story he creates, "Mr. Medbourne, in the vigor of his time, had been a booming merchant, but had lost his all by a frantic speculation, and was now little better than a mendicant" (228). Mr. Medbourne means greed. He lost income generating bad business decisions before. Following the four friends transformed into their younger selves, Hawthorne creates, "Mr. Medbourne was involved with a computation of us dollars and cents, with which was strangely intermingled a job for supplying the East Indies with snow, by harnessing a team of whales to the polar icebergs" (233). Mr. Medbourne made the same foolish greedy businesses again when he altered. He hasn't learned from his mistakes. As Hawthorne presents the characters at the beginning of the brief story he writes, "Colonel Killigrew experienced thrown away his best years, and his health and material, in the pursuit of sinful pleasures, which got given labor and birth to a brood of pains, including the gout, and divers other torments of heart and soul and body" (228). He also identifies Colonel Killgrew later in the story, "Colonel Killigrew's compliments weren't always measured by sober truth" (232). Colonel Killigrew means dishonesty and sin. He was a liar and pursued sinful pleasures, such as drinking alcohol and lusting. After the four friends changed into their youthful selves, Hawthorne writes, "Colonel Killigrew all this time had been trolling forth a jolly bottle song, and buzzing his cup in symphony with the chorus, while his sight wandered toward the buxom figure of the Widow Wycherly" (233). Colonel Killigrew is once more lusting and drinking exceedingly when he changed. He is repeating the flaws he manufactured in days gone by. As Hawthorne presents the characters at the start of the brief story he writes, "Mr. Gascoigne was a ruined politician, a guy of evil fame, or at least have been so till time experienced buried him from the knowledge of today's generation, and made him obscure instead of infamous" (228). Mr. Gascoigne means stagnation. He failed as politician due to the insufficient new ideas. Following the four friends altered into their more youthful selves, Hawthorne creates, "Mr. Gascoigne's head seemed to operate on political issues, but whether associated with the past, present, or future, cannot easily be established, because the same ideas and phrases have been in vogue these fifty years" (233). His mind ran on the same ideas and matters just like he did before. He didn't study from his mistakes and change. As Hawthorne presents the characters at the start of the short story he writes, "As for the Widow Wycherly, custom instructs us that she was a great beauty in her day; but, for an extended while earlier, she had lived in deep seclusion, due to certain scandalous testimonies which had prejudiced the gentry of the town against her" (228). Widow Wycherly means vanity and promiscuity. She was very beautiful and does many scandalous things which forced her to get into hiding. Following the four friends changed into their more radiant selves, Hawthorne writes, "As for the Widow Wycherly, she stood before the reflection courtesying and simpering to her own image, and greeting it as the good friend whom she cherished much better than all the globe beside. She thrust her face near the glass, to see whether some long-remembered wrinkle or crow's feet had indeed vanished. She reviewed whether the snow experienced so entirely melted from her head of hair that the venerable cover could be carefully thrown aside" (233). Hawthorne also creates, "'Doctor, you dear old spirit, ' cried she, 'gets up and party with me at night!'" (234). Widow Wycherly is repeating her obsession with looks and vanity. She actually is also not changing her old promiscuous ways. She doesn't learn from her flaws. When bringing out the individuals, Hawthorne also writes, "It is a circumstance value mentioning that every of the three old gentlemen, Mr. Medbourne, Colonel Killigrew, and Mr. Gascoigne, were early lovers of the Widow Wycherly, and got once been on the point of reducing each other's throats on her behalf sake" (228). The three men used to combat over Wycherly. This conflict between the people means hate. After the transformation, Hawthorne also creates, "'Dance beside me, Clara!" cried Colonel Killigrew. 'No, no, I am her spouse!' shouted Mr. Gascoigne. 'She promised me her side, fifty years back!' exclaimed Mr. Medbourne. Each of them gathered round her. One caught both her hands in his keen understand another threw his arm about her waist--the third buried his hands among the polished curls that clustered under the widow's cap. Blushing, panting, struggling, chiding, laughing, her warm breath fanning each with their faces by converts, she strove to disengage herself, yet still continued to be in their triple embrace" (234). The four of them repeated what occurred in the past and the men started out fighting with each other over Wycherly again. They all again didn't learn from their mistakes.

Hawthorne uses symbolism of items owned by Dr. Heidegger to describe how people don't study from their blunders. When explaining Dr. Heidegger's study, it says, "Between two of the bookcases hung a looking-glass, presenting its high and dusty plate in a tarnished gilt frame. Among many wonderful testimonies related of the mirror, it was fabled that the spirits of all the doctor's deceased patients dwelt within its verge, and would stare him in the face whenever he viewed thitherward" (229). The reflection symbolizes Dr. Heidegger's failures as a doctor. The mirror reminds him of these failures and he learns from them. After the transformation and when they are struggling with over Wycherly, it says, "Never was there a lovelier picture of more youthful rivalship, with bewitching beauty as the award. Yet by some odd deception, owning to the duskiness of the chamber, and the antique dresses which they still wore, the tall mirror is thought to have reflected the statistics of three, old, gray, withered grand-sires, ridiculously contending for the thin ugliness of a shrivelled grand-dam" (234). The reflection reveals that they are making the same blunders as they performed in the past and how foolish they may be. The mirror symbolizes their repetition of these blunders. When first producing the experiment Dr Hiedegger says, "'This rose, ' said Dr. Heidegger, with a sigh, 'this same withered and crumbling bloom, blossomed five and fifty years back. It was given me by Sylvia Ward, whose family portrait hangs yonder; and I meant to wear it in my own bosom at our wedding. Five and fifty years it has been treasured between your leaves of this old volume level. Now, can you consider it possible that this rose of half a century could ever bloom again?'" (230). Dr. Heidegger held this rose as a reminder of his errors in his relationship with his lifeless partner. It symbolizes Dr. Heidegger's discovered lessons of days gone by. Also in the description of Dr. Heidegger's study, it says, "Inside the obscurest place of the area stood a high and slim oaken closet, with its door ajar, within which doubtfully made an appearance a skeleton" (229). The skeleton symbolizes people's refusal to study from their flaws and consequently being internally inactive. The skeleton being placed in the wardrobe shows that Dr. Heidegger has past horrible errors that he now learns from.

The usage of the literary devices characterization, allegory and symbolism by Hawthorne excellently uncovers the theme of the storyline, which is that individuals don't study from their mistakes. Hawthorne characterizes Dr. Heidegger as smart and seeking answers about people's action. Dr. Heidegger's real objective of the test was to discover whether his friends will study from their errors. Dr. Heidegger's Test is written as an allegory. The four friends getting involved in the experiment stand for the mistakes of days gone by which stay unchanged. Mr. Medbourne symbolizes greed, Colonel Killigrew signifies dishonesty and sin, Mr. Gascoigne represents stagnation, and Widow Wycherly signifies vanity and promiscuity. The three men's conflict over Widow Wycherly signifies hate. Items held by Dr. Heidegger symbolize different aspects of learning from blunders. The mirror presents Dr. Heidegger's faults as a doctor and the repetition of fault. The rose symbolizes Dr. Heidegger's discovered lessons of days gone by. The skeleton symbolizes Dr. Heidegger's flaws and also people not learning from their flaws.

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