Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Rappacini’s Daughter – Coursera Essay

When our oldest daughter was a toddler, her father declared she wasn’t dating until she was 30. It is difficult for most fathers to see their daughters grow into sexual beings. Older men know that young men have sex in their brain. They want to protect their daughters and keep them chaste as long as possible.In Nathaniel Hawthorne‘s “Rappacini’s Daughter”, Rappacini devised a unique solution to this problem. As a botanist Rappacini knew how to work with plants. He created hybrids and new species of flowers. He developed a plant with extraordinary blooms for his daughter. These amazing purple blossomed plants were infused with a poison that she absorbed. No one could touch her without dying from that poison. No man was going to mess with HIS little girl!

When Giovanni saw and pursued her, Rappacini took notice. Giovanni became the focus of Rappacini’s interest and experiments. He allowed the suitor to meet his daughter, but then had him endure a rite of passage to win the young woman. Giovanni had to start his own purification to win her. The young man didn’t realize it, but he began accepting the surrounding poison into his own body.

Giovanni’s mentor recognized the poison and disclosed the girl’s nature. Giovanni rebelled against Rappacini’s test. Instead he accepted the mentor’s potion that should release her from her prison. He wanted to free her from her father’s bonds, so gave her the antidote. What Giovanni didn’t know was how it would release her from her poisonous lifestyle. The antidote killed her.

Rappacuni was an overprotective father who wouldn’t accept his daughter’s growth to sexual maturity. Even as she reached to another, Rappacini had to put the man through a test to prove himself worthy of the lady. Instead, Rappacini’s action protected his daughter’s sexuality, then ultimately destroyed her.

Works cited:”Rites of passage” (1997) In Green, T.A. (ed.), Folklore. (pp. 732-733). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc.