Dr. Heidegger's Experiment
Dr. Heidegger's Experiment
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Dr. Heidegger's Experiment Analysis

Literary Devices in Dr. Heidegger's Experiment

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The big question you find yourself asking as you read "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" is whether or not the elixir he gives his guests is actually water from the Fountain of Youth that turns his guest...

Setting

You've probably noticed that we've talked about the setting – Dr. Heidegger's study – in just about every section of this Shmoop Guide. In other words…it's really, really importan...

Narrator Point of View

The narration of "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" is a tricky business. We don't really know who the guy is telling the story, and we might not care if he (she?) didn't go to such length to make sure t...

Genre

It's not a stretch to see the moralistic lessons taught in "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment." Heidegger's warning to his guests that they had better be careful in "passing through the perils of youth" a...

Tone

The closest we can come to assessing the authorial tone here is to look at the narrator's tone – this is reasonable, since the author makes no judgments on his narrator and may in fact be the...

Writing Style

You know what Gothic architecture looks like, right? Think spiral towers and scary, stony facades. Good, because that's what's going on here in the prose. The absolute epitome of this ornate, gloom...

What's Up with the Title?

When Dr. Heidegger's guests arrive, he asks for their help "in one of those little experiments with which [he] amuse[s himself] here in [his] study" and later speaks of "an exceedingly curious expe...

What's Up With the Ending?

In "What's Up with the Title?", we make the argument that Heidegger's "experiment" has nothing to do with the elixir and everything to do with the behavior of his guests once they transform –...

Plot Analysis

The creepy studyMost of the initial situation has to do with setting up the scene and mood for the story that is about to unfold. Hawthorne does this primarily with the setting – the lengthy...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Voyage and Return

The guests learn of Heidegger's elixir; they drinkBooker writes that, in this stage, the characters are in a state "which lays them open to a shattering new experience." It's clear that here, that...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Dr. Heidegger invites his guests over to his creepy study and tells them about the elixir he has procured.The guests drink the potion and act like fools; they shatter the vase.The guests grow older...

Trivia

Leonardo DiCaprio's character quotes from Nathaniel Hawthorne in Scorsese's 2006 Academy Award-winning film The Departed.Hawthorne was actually born Nathaniel Hathorne, but added a "w" to his last...

Steaminess Rating

No sex, but there is some over-the-top competition between Colonel Killigrew, Mr. Gascoigne, and Mr. Medbourne over the Widow Wycherly. We're told at the beginning of the story that the men were on...

Allusions

Hippocrates (3)Juan Ponce de León (13-14)

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