Dr. Heidegger's Experiment
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Dr. Heidegger's Experiment Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- Is there a "moral" to this story? If so, what is it?
- What is the point of the first-person narration here (as opposed to third-person)?
- Do you take the narrator to be Hawthorne, or some fictional character?
- Compare "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" to some of Edgar Allan Poe's stories of "psychological terror," such as "William Wilson." How does Hawthorne's "Dark Romanticism" (see "Genre") differ from Poe's?
- Is "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" meant to be funny at all? Where do you see humor in this text, and what is the effect of such humor on your reading of the story?
- Is Dr. Heidegger a likeable character? A sinister one? As a reader, do you relate more to him or to his guests?
- You've heard us argue both sides, but what's your final answer – is the water in the vase really from the Fountain of Youth, or does Dr. Heidegger just get his guests drunk?
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